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Thursday, 01 March 2007 22:27

Bad Baby Bottles ?

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Chemicals leaching from some brands of baby bottles has parents all over the nation evaluating their feeding strategies tonight. Several popular baby bottle brands have been found to leach potentially harmful levels of a toxic chemical linked to developmental, neural and reproductive problems, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental policy group. Even before the study was released, independent experts from the National Institutes of Health had already planned to meet next week to discuss the issue.The independent laboratory study was conducted in cooperation with the Environment California Research and Policy Center to test whether bisphenol A, a chemical used to make clear plastic for consumer products, including baby bottles, was released into the liquids the bottles contained, Environment California spokeswoman Rachel Gibson said.

The group tested five popular baby bottle brands: Avent, Dr. Brown's, Evenflo, Gerber and Playtex. All five leached bisphenol A at levels "found to cause harm in numerous laboratory animal studies," Gibson said. According to Gibson, the plastic material in containers breaks down through use and releases bisphenol A into liquids and food. To read the group's report, click here. Bisphenol A has been linked by scientists to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes and hyperactivity, Gibson said. T

he bottles were heated with water for 24 hours at 80 degrees centigrade, hardly relevant conditions for how baby bottles are actually used," Steven Hentges, executive director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council. "Had the bottles been tested under relevant use conditions, as has been done by many other researchers, the level of bisphenol A would have been much lower if detected at all." he group recommends consumers choose glass or "safer-plastic" baby bottles. In addition, the group advises against heating up food or drinks in plastic containers, and using harsh dishwashing soap and hot water, as those practices can speed up the rate of leaching, according to Gibson. According to Avent America’s Customer service Quoting the FDA, who's foremost concern is public safety:

"Considering all the evidence, including measurements by FDA chemists of levels found in canned foods or migrating from baby bottles, FDA sees no reason at this time to ban or otherwise restrict the uses (of BPA) now in practice.FDA is aware of several reports  stating that bisphenol-A has estrogenic activity and that, in spite of evidence that bisphenol-A is harmless when consumed  by animals in amounts far (orders of magnitude) higher than humans would consume, such activity persists at very low doses.  However, other report appear to dispute any reason to expect harm at the low exposure that humans experience."

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