BPA Plastic Baby Bottles Banned in Chicago

Since the FDA has failed to take steps to protect the public from the potential harm posed by the use bisphenol A, or BPA, the city of Chicago has issued a ban on the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups that contain the chemical.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is added to plastic to make it hard and shatterproof. It is used in a number of different consumer products such as bottles, cups, soda can linings and food containers.

BPA mimics the action of the hormone estrogen and experts have suggested that low doses of BPA can seep into food or liquid stored in plastic containers. If the chemical accumulates in the body over a long period of time, it may result in developmental abnormalities, especially among infants and young children who cannot eliminate BPA fast enough to prevent toxicity.

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Tests on laboratory animals have linked BPA to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, miscarriage, obesity, hyperactivity, low sperm count and other reproductive problems.

Although a number of experts and consumer advocates have expressed concerns about the presence of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups used by infants and toddlers under three years old, the FDA has taken the controversial position that the levels of BPA are safe and has not taken any steps to restrict the use.

In October 2008, an independent panel of advisors convened by the FDA concluded that the agency’s position was flawed because it does not consider evidence from all available and credible scientific studies. The FDA agreed to review the safety of BPA again in December 2008, but manufacturers are still not currently prevented from using the chemical in the United States.

Several manufacturers including Avent, Evenflo, Disney First Years, Platex, Gerber and Dr. Brown have voluntarily agreed to stop making BPA baby bottles, and major retailers like Wal-Mart and Babies R’ Us are no longer stocking baby products with BPA.

On May 13, 2009, the Chicago City County voted unanimously to issue the first municipal ban on the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups.

The ban, which takes effect on January 31, 2010, could result in a fine of $100 to $300 per day for retailers breaking the law and $300 to $500 per day for repeat offenses. Violators could also have their city business licenses revoked or suspended.

Similar measures were passed by the Minnesota state legislature last year and by Suffolk County, New York last month. In Connecticut, a ban has passed the House of Representatives and the State Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill this week.


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