Despite more than two years of warnings about the possible dangers of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), manufacturers continue to widely use it to make baby bottles, toys and beverage containers, and stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys "R" Us continue to carry the products, according to a new study from the Center for Health Environment and Justice, a Virginia-based environmental activist organization.
BPA is a synthetic sex hormone that mimics estrogen. Scientists have linked low doses of BPA to obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other illnesses in lab tests on animals.
Click here for a guide on how to find a plastic-free baby bottle.
Read more about BPA and other potentially dangerous chemicals here.
Ninety-five percent of all baby bottles on the market are made with BPA, according to the study's findings.
The authors of the study say the continued use of BPA is outrageous, given the evidence of its toxicity.
Some say the jury is still out on the risk of BPA.
Click here to read about some parents who are playing it safe with glass bottles.
"Baby bottles manufacturers are not living up to their promises to protect consumers' health," said Mike Schade, a report co-author with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Schade said that safer products are available and that "the only appropriate response to evidence that a known toxic chemical leaches from baby products is to phase it out and replace it with safer products in order to prevent harm wherever possible. "
Click here for some tips on how you can avoid ingesting BPA.
The results of the study show that, when the bottles were filled with water and heated for 24 hours at 80 degrees Celsius, which Schade says simulates repeated scrubbings, detergents and warm water, those manufactured by Avent, Evenflo, Dr. Brown's and Disney/First Years leached between 4.7 and 8.3 parts per billion of BPA. The bottles were purchased in nine states at Babies "R" Us, CVS, Target, Toys "R" Us, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.
The Food and Drug Administration has long permitted the use of BPA, but in recent years concerns about the chemical have grown as studies have indicated low doses of the substance can disrupt hormone systems in laboratory animals and possibly increase the risk of cancer or other serious illness.
The American Chemistry Council has defended the chemical, saying scientists' concerns over bisphenol A were "distinctly at odds" with findings from other studies by both government organizations and scientific bodies. "All of these evaluations support the conclusion that bisphenol A is not a risk to human health at the extremely low levels to which consumers might be exposed," the group said.
Results of the study, "Baby's Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Baby Bottles," contribute to a growing body of evidence that calls for immediate protective action to reduce public exposure to BPA, especially for infants and children. Last month, Michigan Reps. John Dingell, D, and Bart Stupak, D, launched a congressional investigation to ascertain the safety of BPA used to line the cans of infant formula products.
The study was commissioned by Environmental Defense of Canada in cooperation with The Work Group for Safe Markets in the U.S., and researched by the laboratory of Frederick vom Saal, PhD., at the University of Missouri.