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Europe

EU bans baby bottles with controversial BPA chemical

The European Union has moved to ban the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) from baby bottles. The jury is still out as to how dangerous BPA really is.

A young child drinks from a baby bottle

The ban is meant to protect kids from the unknown dangers of BPA

Beginning in 2011, both the manufacture and sale of baby bottles containing the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) will be banned across the European Union, the European Commission said on Thursday.

"The decision … is good news for European parents who can be sure that as of mid-2011 plastic infant feeding bottles will not include BPA," said John Dalli, the commissioner in charge of health and consumer policy, in a statement.

From March 1, 2011, the manufacture of such bottles will be illegal within the EU, and from June 1, 2011, it will no longer be legal for BPA bottles produced abroad to be imported to the EU or sold on the European market.

How dangerous is BPA?

BPA is widely used in plastic containers and packaging around the world. Although studies have linked BPA exposure to cancer, obesity and the early onset of puberty, its risks are still disputed. The European Food Safety Agency recently issued a report on the chemical, saying that it was safe in small quantities and yet admitting areas of uncertainty.

"It cannot be excluded that there might be an effect on the development, immune response or tumor promotion," Dalli said in an October 7 statement.

France and Denmark are the only two EU countries to already have a ban on BPA bottles in place.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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