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A new federal report has shown exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make the plastic in baby bottles and to line soda cans, may cause harm to fetuses and children; further research needs to be conducted to determine whether it is safe. BPA is used to stiffen the plastic used in baby bottles and is also used in soda cans to protect the drink from spoiling and from coming into direct contact with the aluminum.

Tests conducted on animals showed harmful effects from the chemical in a report that listed the concern about BPA’s risk against children at the middle of a five-point scale. It showed developmental changes in some of the animal subjects, which leads researchers to believe these same chances could occur in children as well. Though the study’s authors did not recommend any changes to United States safety standards, they did say parents may want to limit the family’s exposure to BPA.

The study, which was the final version of a report issued in draft form in April, accentuates the difference within the federal government about the chemical’s safety. In a draft report issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they concluded a safety risk occurs when the chemical comes in contact with food. The FDA is requiring more testing in adult, pregnant and newborn monkeys to determine whether the chemical affects nervous system development and behavior. In response to the study, the American Chemical Council has stated there has been no direct evidence that exposure to BPA affects human development or reproduction. They claim evidence from the animal study was inconclusive and limited and that additional research was needed.

In April, Canada became the first country to label bisphenol A as toxic. It is now considering issuing a ban on the chemical’s use in baby bottles; United States legislators are considering similar bans on the substance. Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. claim they do not use the chemicals in their soft drink or water bottles. Several other companies who produce plastic bottles have stopped using the chemical in new products due to concerns.

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