CBS News, Deborah Garcia
Published December 6, 2007
NEW YORK (CBS) ― A recent study shows that babies are being exposed to a potentially harmful chemical every time they ingest liquid formula, and that all major U.S. baby formula manufacturers have admitted to use of the plastic's chemical in their cans.
The investigation by the Environment Working Group (EWG) has revealed that the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) is used to line nearly all infant formula cans, and can even be found in many plastic baby bottles as well.
"Formula fed infants are particularly at risk, especially infants that are fed ready-to-eat formula," says Jane Houlihan, Vice President of Research for the EWG. "Everyone is exposed by canned foods, but infants are exposed at an even greater level, because pound-for-pound, they get a greater dose of the BPA chemical."
Researchers say BPA acts like the hormone estrogen and can affect a developing brain and reproductive system. The study shows that all major U.S. manufacturers of formula use the chemical, including Nestlé, Ross-Abbot (Similac), MeadJohnson (Enfamil), Hain-Celestial (Earth's Best), and PBM (sold under various names at Walmart, Kroger, Target and other stores).
"There is mounting scientific evidence that BPA is toxic, especially to children," Aaron Freeman, Policy Director with Environmental Defence, says in a statement. "Governments should be acting quickly, starting with a ban on BPA in food and beverage containers."
"Powdered formula contains 10 to 20 times less BPA than the concentrated liquid formulas," Houlihan says.
"Our modeling suggests that powdered formulas are a better choice for babies," the report says. The group calculated three factors that determine bisphenol A's leaching potential from different types of formula containers, and concluded that liquid formulas have eight to 20 times higher potential to leach than the most common powdered formulas because of smaller can sizes and because the product is less diluted with water.