WASHINGTON — Consumer Reports magazine is suggesting that parents not use polycarbonate baby bottles because of concerns about a chemical suspected of harming the human endocrine system.
The magazine said a study it conducted found that bisphenol-A can leach out of PC baby bottles at 40 times infant safety levels.
The magazine's May issue said: ``It isn't known what risk, if any, the chemicals that can leach from some of these items may represent to humans. However, until more is known about their effects, it makes sense to limit exposure to them.''
The plastics industry, however, said that BPA is safe in normal use and said the magazine does not understand toxicology and risk assessment. It asked Consumer Reports for a retraction.
CR said it tested six different bottles. According to its study, when adults heat formula in the bottle, infants may be exposed to a level of BPA 40 times higher than a level that adversely impacted animals in studies at the University of Missouri — Columbia.
Industry groups said the study is sensationalistic.
``The scientific research that has been done for more than 35 years consistently has shown there is no danger to consumers when products are used as intended,'' said Kathleen Baier, spokeswoman for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association in Moorestown, N.J. She said in a statement that the Food and Drug Administration has approved BPA's use for 35 years.
The Washington-based American Plastics Council said details of how CR conducted the study are sketchy, and it said the results of the University of Missouri study mentioned in the CR report have not been duplicated in larger tests.
``We believe it is irresponsible for Consumer Reports to draw the conclusions they have based solely on their own questionable research that has not been subject to scientific peer review and on a single variant study that has neither been replicated nor accepted by the scientific community or by government regulators,'' APC said.
But Deborah Wallace, a CR scientist who designed the study, said the magazine followed FDA protocol, except that FDA put bottles in a 212§ F oven while CR used a 212§ F waterbath for convenience. She also said a 1997 study in the United Kingdom found results similar to the Missouri study.
``We say this thing [BPA] is present and there are animal tests that show it is not a great thing to have in a baby's formula,'' she said. ``We don't know at what levels in formula it would be a problem. We are taking what is called the precautionary principle.''
CR recommended consumers use glass or polyethylene baby bottles.
Endocrine disrupters are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen or other natural endocrine chemicals in animals and people. Some researchers say they may harm human reproductive systems and fetal development.