But if the FDA prohibits BPA, it could lead to problems if the packaging that replaces BPA-containing material is not stable or leads to health concerns, said Robert Rankin, associate director of the International Formula Council, a trade association that represents makers and marketers of infant formulas.
"If BPA is not there as a backup plan, you have a potential gap in the supply chain," he said.
Whereas there are decades of safety data for BPA, there may be less known about the packaging material that replaces BPA, Rankin said.
Although the FDA is continuing to review the safety of BPA, a March 30 agency statement said there currently is not sufficient scientific evidence that the low levels found in foods are unsafe. The American Medical Association supports the development of BPA alternatives in infant-formula containers.
"We just try to focus on prevention," said Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle. "There really are no safe limits. Lower doses can lead to health effects."
Exposure to BPA during pregnancy and in newborn babies has been associated with hyperactivity and aggressive behavior in children at 2 years of age.
The major baby-bottle manufacturers announced in January 2009 that they had eliminated the use of BPA, making the widespread move before makers of infant formulas. Children's toys generally are not made out of plastics that contain BPA.
Parents can take many steps to further reduce or avoid BPA exposure when feeding their baby:
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