A chemical widely used to make food and drink containers and tableware will be banned from plastic baby bottles from next year.
The European Union said its decision last week to outlaw the use of Bisphenol A, or BPA, in the products has the backing of a majority of EU governments.
Manufacture of polycarbonate baby feeding bottles containing BPA will stop from March 2011, while their import and sale will be banned from June.
Some countries have already prohibited the use of the controversial chemical in baby bottles, and last month Canada became the first country to go one step further and declare it toxic.
BPA is suspected of causing abnormalities in aquatic animals and of having a detrimental effect on human male fertility, and research suggests that it can be ingested when it leaches into food and drink from containers. However, experts remain divided over the alleged dangers.
A statement issued following the EU’s decision, said: “There were areas of uncertainty, deriving from new studies, which showed that BPA might have an effect on development, immune response and tumor promotion.”
But the Brussels-based Health and Environment Alliance said the EU had not gone far enough and that BPA should come out of all food contact materials.