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Battle over the baby bottle: Should containers with bisphenol A be banned?

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As the legislation moves to the state Assembly, at least a dozen lobbyists representing such groups as the American Chemistry Council and baby-formula makers Enfamil and Similac are planning an aggressive fight.

"The case [against BPA] has grown more compelling, [and] when California does something, it tends to spread across the nation," says Mary Lynne Vellinga, spokeswoman for Democratic state Sen. Fran Pavley, who cosponsored the bill.

But industry groups say the claim that it's harmful to humans is overblown and unsubstantiated. The amount of BPA in consumer goods is so minuscule that it wouldn't pose any health risks, they say.

"These are old materials that have been around for 50 years or so," says Steve Hentges, executive director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council, a trade group. "There truly is a global consensus that bisphenol A is not a human health concern.... There is no scientific basis for any of these bills."

The amount found in most Americans, he says, is "1,000 times below" what European regulators have determined as safe levels for BPA. "Exposure is not only extremely low, it is not even remotely close to the level of concern."

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