State bans chemical in baby bottles

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 8, 2009 - 8:13 PM

Bisphenol-A is found in many plastics, but Minnesota becomes the first to outlaw sale of items containing it.

Sippy cups and baby bottles containing a chemical suspected of being harmful will be banned in Minnesota starting Jan. 1.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill into law Thursday that prohibits the sale of bottles and cups that contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in many plastics and in canned food coatings.

BPA is so widespread that most people have traces of it in their bodies, but even though the new law regards it as a health threat, scientists haven't definitively determined whether that is the case.

Some health officials are convinced BPA is harmful, because it mimics some of the effects of estrogen, a powerful hormone. Infants may be particularly vulnerable because their bodies are developing and can't eliminate the chemical as quickly.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued an assessment that BPA is safe and asked independent scientists to review its conclusion. After that report was widely criticized as flawed, the agency ordered that the risk assessment be redone.

Under the new law, food containers affected are those intended for use by children under the age of 3.

Manufacturers of such children's products containing BPA may not sell them in the state after Jan. 1, 2010. The ban extends to all retailers in the state a year later.

According to Healthy Legacy, a Minneapolis environmental group, similar bans are being considered in four other states. In addition, bills have been offered in Congress that would ban BPA nationwide.

In March, six major baby bottle manufacturers said they would stop using BPA in the bottles they sell in the United States.

Jake Grovum, a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune, contributed to this report. Bob von Sternberg • 612-673-7184

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