06 March 2009 21:11 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The six largest baby bottle manufacturers in the US have promised to stop selling products containing the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA), sources said on Friday.
Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex Products and Evenflow made the move after attorneys general from three states urged them to stop using BPA, which some studies have linked to health problems in infants.
BPA is mainly used for manufacturing polycarbonate (PC), a plastic found in everything from baby bottles to car parts. One industry source estimated that 10m-15m lbs (4,536-6,803 tonnes) of PC were used in infant care products annually.
Representatives of the baby bottle companies did not immediately return calls for comment. US PC producers Bayer and Dow Chemical did not immediately respond to questions. Producer SABIC Innovative Plastic referred questions to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
The ACC reiterated its position that BPA is safe at dosage levels currently approved by the FDA.
US PC manufacturers, who have a combined nameplate capacity of 875,000 tonnes year, declined to release current production rates.
Public concern over BPA, which has been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen, has grown in the wake of a National Toxicology Program report in September. The organisation, a part of the National Institutes of Health, said the chemical could be linked to brain and behavioral problems in infants and children.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the chemical safe, although its evaluation was based mainly on two studies funded by the chemical industry. The agency has since been accused by critics, including its own advisory board, as dragging its feet updating its assessment.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, one of the three to ask the baby bottle makers to stop using BPA, said the companies’ decision showed that public concern over BPA has reached critical mass.
"This prompt, positive response sends a profoundly significant message that baby bottle manufacturers respect the science showing BPA health dangers and will do the right thing," he said. "Hopefully other industries will heed our plea, and a broader legislative ban will be approved this session.”
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