Processing Magazine

FDA agrees that more safety studies are needed for plastic used in baby bottles

September 3, 2008

Government toxicologists have reiterated safety concerns about a Bisphenol, a chemical used in baby bottles and food containers, just weeks after the Food and Drug declared the substance safe, according to the Associated Press. A report issued Wednesday said there is "some concern" that bisphenol can cause developmental problems in the brain and hormonal systems of infants and children. Bisphenol is a plastic-hardening chemical used to seal canned food and make baby bottles. The conclusion from the National Toxicology Program repeats initial findings issued in April. The group -- which includes scientists from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies -- said bisphenol''s risks to humans cannot be ruled out, but acknowledged its concerns are based on the findings of studies on animals. The American Chemistry Council, which represents plastics manufacturers, has spent the last year defending the safety of bisphenol from new concerns about the risks of plastics to children. After more than a year of complaints from consumer and parent groups, the FDA has agreed to revisit the chemical''s safety. The agency last month said the trace amounts that leach out of food containers are not a threat to children or adults. But the toxicology group said that may not be true. Parents who are concerned can avoid buying food containers made from bisphenol. Several major retailers -- including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys "R" Us Inc. -- have said they would stop selling baby bottles made with the chemical next year. And smaller companies like Evenflo and BornFree have ramped up production of glass baby bottles as a bisphenol-free alternative. Canada has said it intends to ban the use of the chemical in baby bottles, and state and federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to ban bisphenol in U.S. children''s products. More than 6 billion pounds of bisphenol are produced in the U.S. each year by Dow Chemical, Bayer AG and other manufacturers.