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CA City and Retailers Unite to Oust Baby Bottle Chemical

October 27, 2008

The battle over the chemical BPA is heating up in California. Some California retailers are no longer selling baby bottles that contain the chemical, after San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ask stores and hospitals to voluntarily pull the products. Safeway recently did so, joining Whole Foods Market, which banned baby bottles with BPA in 2006. While the move is voluntary, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is petitioning the federal Food and Drug Administration to ban BPA in food packaging nationwide.

Dr. Sarah Janssen with NRDC says 93 percent of people have the chemical in their bodies, and it's most dangerous to babies and young children.

"BPA has been associated with reproductive abnormalities, prostate and breast cancer, neurological damage, insulin resistance and diabetes, and cardiovascular disease."

The chemical was originally developed to mimic estrogen but can now be found in the lining of metal cans and in clear polycarbonate plastic.

Dr. Janssen says that since BPA is not listed on labels, it's difficult for consumers to make the right choices.

Canada recently declared the chemical toxic and is banning it from baby bottles. Dr. Janssen says scientists have known about the toxic properties of BPA in animals since the early 1990s.

"In just the last year or so, we're starting to have a lot more evidence that the same problems we're finding in animals are associated with BPA exposure in humans."

Representatives of chemical companies claim there is no real proof that such items are unsafe for children. A California bill that would have banned BPA from baby bottles was narrowly defeated in the state legislature last month.

More information is at www.nrdc.org.



Lori Abbott/Steve Powers, Public News Service - CA