(NaturalNews) Major retailers and manufacturers have begun pledging to stop using the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) following a ruling by the U.S. government's National Toxicology Program and a decision by the Canadian government to ban the chemical in baby bottles.
BPA is an industrial chemical commonly used to make polycarbonate plastics strong and transparent, and also as a liner inside cans of food. But researchers have raised concerns that the chemical mimics estrogen in the vertebrate body, and thus may lead to cancers, reproductive and birth defects, and other health problems.
On April 18, Canada became the first country to ban BPA in any way, prohibiting its use in baby bottles. This followed closely upon a report by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Toxicology Program that BPA might cause cancer and other disorders in humans, such as behavioral changes in infants and children and early puberty in girls.
Major retailer Wal-Mart responded to the news by immediately removing all baby bottles made with BPA from the shelves of its Canadian stores, and announcing that by 2009, the chemical would no longer be used in baby bottles sold in its U.S. stores. Baby bottle manufacturer Playtex said that it would immediately introduce a BPA-free baby bottle line, and that all its baby bottles would be BPA free by the end of 2008. Toys 'R' Us followed suit, promising to sell only BPA-free baby feeding products in the same time period.
Taking the phenomenon beyond infant products, popular reusable water bottle manufacturer Nalgene pledged to recall all products containing BPA and to stop using the chemical in any of its bottles.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced plans to introduce a bill banning BPA from any infant products, dental sealants or food containers.
"We cannot wait to act. If there is any serious risk at all posed by this chemical, it is simply unacceptable to allow Americans, especially vulnerable infants, to come into contact with it."