Congress has introduced legislation intended to establish a federal ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in all food and beverage containers. The measure would greatly expand earlier efforts to limit the chemical from products used only by babies and children.
The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it was now refusing to sell BPA to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. Sunoco told investors that it could not be certain of the compound's safety.
Six baby bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, have also announced they would stop using BPA to make baby bottles.
Tests have uncovered toxic levels of the chemical in packaged products, including some marked as "microwave safe." The amounts detected were at levels that scientists have found cause neurological and developmental damage in laboratory animals. The problems include genital defects, behavioral changes and abnormal development of mammary glands.
An overwhelming majority of studies show the chemical is harmful, causing breast cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, obesity, low sperm counts, miscarriage and a host of other reproductive failures in laboratory animals. More recent studies using human data have also linked BPA to heart disease and diabetes.