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The Navy and Army and Air Force exchange services say all their plastic products meet federal safety requirements despite concern from some health officials that polycarbonate baby bottles and beverage containers pose serious health risks.

The chemical bisphenol A, known as BPA, is widely used in plastic products including sippy cups, baby bottles and water bottles. The ingestion of BPA might affect human reproduction and development, especially in children, according to a scientific review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released this month.

Wal-Mart Canada removed all products containing BPA from its shelves, and the popular water bottle company Nalgene announced it would stop using the chemical this month.

So far, there is no definitive evidence BPA is a health risk to humans and further review is needed, Health and Human Services found. The chemical has not been declared unsafe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“According to our newborn, infant and juvenile-products buyer, all infant feeding products carried in our assortment are in compliance with FDA regulations regarding BPA,” Navy Exchange spokeswoman Kristine M. Sturkie said.

Meanwhile, NEX vendors are working to eliminate BPA from products, including baby and infant bottles.

“For example, Playtex’s entire product line will be BPA-free by the end of the year,” Sturkie said. “I would expect to see additional vendors take similar action within the next year.”

In the meantime, NEX will not make any changes to its current product assortment, she said.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service said it and its vendors are identifying BPA-free alternative products but had made no decisions on selling products containing the chemical.

“The FDA has reviewed all the relevant data regarding BPA and the products in AAFES’s stock assortment are in full compliance with current FDA regulations,” according to a prepared statement by the exchange service.

Canada’s 299 Wal-Mart stores removed baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, water bottles and food containers with BPA from store shelves on April 16, according to the company. Canada is the first country to complete a risk assessment of BPA, which focused on newborns and infants, and will consider a complete ban within 60 days, according to its health ministry.

In the U.S., a scientific panel sponsored by Health and Human Services made an initial review of BPA and released its findings April 18. High doses of BPA in laboratory rats during pregnancy and lactation can reduce survival, birth weight and growth of offspring early in life, and delay the onset of puberty, the panel reported.

What is BPA?

The chemical bisphenol A is widely used in the production of hard, durable polycarbonate plastics, especially baby bottles and water bottles.

Is BPA dangerous?

Possibly, but more scientific studies are needed. Tests on lab rats showed high-dose levels of BPA during pregnancy and lactation can damage offspring and delay the onset of puberty.

How do I identify products that contain BPA?

Polycarbonate plastics are typically clear and hard and marked with the recycle symbol 7 or may contain the letters PC near the recycle symbol.

Where can I find updated information on BPA?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates, recalls and issues safety alerts for products such as BPA, www.fda.gov. Any Navy, Air Force or Army product recalls can be found at www.aafes.com or www.navy-nex.com.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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