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In response to an American Chemical Council request, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that companies will no longer be allowed to use bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and cups.

BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical used to make plastic shatterproof. Found in the lining of some food packaging, canned products and baby formula containers, it also keeps food fresh. But several manufacturers have stopped adding BPA to beverage bottles due to concerns associated with its use.

The FDA declared BPA safe in 2008, but since then, studies have linked the chemical to hazardous effects on the brain, behavior and prostate glands. BPA has also been said to cause cancer, sexual dysfunction and behavioral problems in children.

Baby bottles and cups are the only products affected by the ban. According to the Washington Post, the FDA does not see a safety concern with BPA and stands behind its use. The fact that the FDA advocates BPA use has caused some to criticize the agency.

“This is only a baby step in the fight to eradicate BPA," Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist at the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council, reportedly stated. "To truly protect the public, [the] FDA needs to ban BPA from all food packaging. This half-hearted action-taken only after consumers shifted away from BPA in children’s products – is inadequate. FDA continues to dodge the bigger questions of BPA’s safety.”

Nearly a dozen U.S. states took the initiative to ban BPA use prior to the FDA’s ban. Several countries, including Canada and China, have also banned the dangerous chemical.

A study of more than 2,000 people shed an unsettling light on the presence of BPA. The study found the chemical present in 90 percent of the participants’ urine as well as in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood.

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