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Chemical BPA to get more scrutiny

Possible ill effects on children a worry

NEW YORK – Federal health agencies said Friday recent research shows cause for concern over the chemical bisphenol-A’s potential effect on children, but more study is needed before any regulatory changes are considered.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Friday it would expand efforts to research and track possible harmful effects of BPA. The chemical is used to harden plastics and has been used in water bottles, canned food lining and other household items.

The health agencies’ key concern is BPA’s use in baby bottles and the linings of cans of liquid infant formula.

The Food and Drug Administration ruled last year trace amounts that leach out of bottles and food packaging are not dangerous. FDA officials then said they would revisit that conclusion after scientists complained it relied on a small number of industry-sponsored studies.

Some scientists believe that BPA exposure can harm the reproductive and nervous systems and possibly promote cancers. They point to findings of dozens of animal studies involving BPA, though the negative effects have not been recorded in human studies.

About 90 percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies.

The American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group, reiterated Friday that studies have supported the safety of BPA.

The six major makers of baby bottles and infant feeding cups no longer use BPA in those products in the U.S., the agency said.


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