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Battle over the baby bottle: Should containers with bisphenol A be banned?

A number of states are moving to curtail the sale and use of bottles that have this chemical. But industry groups say BPA's risks are overblown.

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But that doesn't mean those are harmful levels, Mr. Hentges says. "What the authors didn't really talk about is what that means.... Their BPA exposure was below the average for the US population."

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Still, lawmakers appear to be following Canada's lead in weighing on the side of caution.

"These children's feeding products are targeted because BPA leaches from these containers into food and milk – generating significant exposures to babies and toddlers who cannot metabolize the harmful chemical as well as adults," Senator Pavley recently told legislators in California.

On Wednesday, at the urging of some federal lawmakers, the Food and Drug Administration agreed to take another look at the safety of BPA, and a full review is expected to be completed by the end of summer or early fall.

In the past, the FDA has said "the consensus of regulatory agencies in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan is that the current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and young children."

According to the Associated Press, Reps. Henry Waxman (D) of California and Bart Stupak (D) of Michigan wrote a letter to the FDA asking it to reexamine its conclusion on BPA. They suggested the FDA could have been influenced by industry lobbyists.

"Under the Bush administration, FDA concluded that BPA was safe at current exposure levels. We are writing to ask that you reconsider this conclusion in light of longstanding questions about the scientific data relied on by the FDA under the previous administration, as well as new press accounts detailing the influence of industry lobbyists on the FDA's scientific analyses," the congressmen wrote.

The American Academy of Pediatrics would also like to see further investigations.

"The AAP is deeply concerned ... that the current scientific evidence is largely insufficient to draw accurate conclusions about the safety of exposure to BPA, particularly with respect to vulnerable populations including pregnant women, infants, and children," Renée Jenkins, the previous AAP president, said last year.

Long before the debate over the baby bottle raged in state capitals, it was playing out on parenting blogs and in online discussion groups – in fact, ever since a 2007 study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences said BPA caused reproductive abnormalities in mice.

Some parents have wasted no time ridding their cupboards of traditional plastics and buying BPA-free containers, which have increasingly appeared in stores.

The BPA controversy came on the heels of revelations about lead paint in toys imported from China, so "everyone was hyper aware of these toxins lurking in our baby's products," says Greg Allen, who publishes a blog for new fathers called, and who has cleared his household of BPA bottles.

"I felt literally like I was writing about it [BPA] every day," Mr. Allen says.

But the new concern about chemicals in baby bottles is also the product of a society that is hyper concerned about safety, he says. "There's more of a generalized awareness – or obsession – about safety. The fact that we've had a full generation of safety focus has to have an effect."