Suffolk County, N.Y., has become the first U.S. municipality to ban the use of bisphenol A in products intended for children 3 years old and younger.
The March 3 decision by the county Legislature bans the sale of polycarbonate bottles and sippy cups that contain BPA. County Executive Steve Levy still has to sign the measure.
Some laboratory studies have linked BPA to birth defects, low birth weights, cancer, early puberty and other health problems in rats.
An analysis of existing data published Jan. 28 by the Rochester Medical Center suggests that BPA could linger longer in the human body than previously thought, and that it could get into the bloodstream through sources besides food, such as PC pipe and dust from carbonless papers like cash register receipts.
In October 2008, Canada's health ministry said it would draft regulations to ban the import and sale of baby bottles containing BPA. Similar bans have also been proposed in Washington state, Connecticut, Minnesota and California.
The Food and Drug Administration maintains there is no need to regulate BPA in food containers a stance it reiterated in December under pressure from Congress and stinging criticism from a subcommittee of the FDA's own science board.
Toys R Us Inc. on Jan. 1 pulled BPA baby bottles from its U.S. stores, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is phasing out BPA products intended for children. Rite Aid Corp. has said that beginning April 1, it no longer will stock BPA bottles. Wal-Mart stores in Canada stopped selling baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, food containers and water bottles containing BPA in April 2008.
Energizer Holdings Inc.'s Playtex Infant Care unit and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the maker of Nalgene sports bottles, also have stopped using BPA in new products.
Suffolk County has a history of legislative firsts, including a 1998 ban on polystyrene take-out containers and plastic shopping bags.