Panel Rebukes FDA on Plastic Bottle Safety

Earlier this spring, an evaluation released by the Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program also raised concerns, finding that "the possibility that bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be dismissed."

That evaluation expressed concern that BPA could have neural and behavioral effects on fetuses, infants and children at existing exposure levels.

On Wednesday, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., told ABC News he was "not surprised" about the newest report. "I was suspect of what the FDA was doing with BPA, and obviously it means they have to do a lot more investigation," he said.

The chemical that helps make plastic shatter-resistant, used in food and drink containers, as well as products ranging from bike helmets to dental sealants, is believed to leach out of the products that contain it. As a result, several manufacturers have started to advertise their products as BPA-free to continue attracting buyers.

On Tuesday, the American Chemistry Council released a statement on the latest conclusions.

"Once the FDA assessment is complete, the public can be assured that ACC and its member companies will comply with FDA's direction," the chemical industry group said. "If the agency determines that existing margins of safety are insufficient in infant applications, our member companies that manufacture BPA will put processes in place to promptly phase out the use of materials containing BPA in baby bottles and infant formula packaging."

Reacting to this week's report, the FDA, too, said additional studies would be helpful and said the agency is already planning to do more research.

Still, some on Wednesday questioned why the agency has not banned the chemical altogether.

"I've only been a mother for four months and everyone I know avoids it, so I don't see why they wouldn't ban it," said mother Reagan Morris.

"Our critical response is part of the FDA process," FitzGerald said. "That's one reason why the public should be really encouraged by this -- that the FDA is taking a sophisticated, complex and wide ranging approach to such an important issue that is so loaded with emotional content."

ABC News' Matt Hosford contributed to this report.

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