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Published on Jan 20, 2010 by Edgar Snyder

FDA Changes Stance on BPA and Infants' Health

FDA concerned about BPA effects

According to the FDA, parents should take precautions to try and limit infants' exposure to the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). The agency said that it has "some concern" about the safety of BPA but did not go so far as to call it a definite health risk.

The FDA's new position is a partial reversal of its declaration in 2008 that BPA has no adverse effects. That announcement was poorly received by environmental groups that said it relied too heavily on industry-funded research and that BPA should be banned completely.

Some of the agency's new concerns arise from studies that found a possible connection between BPA and adverse effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in developing fetuses, infants, and children. Other studies have found a possible link to diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well.

The chemical is found in many products but has received the most attention for its use in linings for canned food and infant formula and as a hardener in plastic baby bottles and toys. A handful of states and cities including Chicago, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have passed laws in some form banning BPA in products meant for children.

Even though the six largest makers of infant bottles and cups already use alternatives to BPA, the FDA is currently trying to determine if the agency has the legal authority to quickly force products with BPA off the market if other manufacturers don't do it voluntarily. The following are several safety tips that parents can follow to help protect against the possible risks of BPA:

  • Discard scratched or worn bottles and cups, which in addition to harboring germs, might release small amounts of BPA.
  • Be cautious when heating formula, as boiling or very hot liquid might cause the release of BPA into infant formula.
  • Check labels to make sure that only microwave-safe products are used in the microwave and only dishwasher-safe products are put in the dishwasher. This will aid in avoiding BPA leakage.
Source: "Limit infants' use of Bisphenol-A products, FDA says." CNN Health. January 15, 2010.
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