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In a shift of position, the Food and Drug Administration is expressing concerns about possible health risks from bisphenol-A, or BPA, a widely used component of plastic bottles and food packaging that it declared Bisphenol-a (BPA), found in Nalgene brand water bottles, is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in industry.

The agency said Friday that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children,” and would join other federal health agencies in studying the chemical in both animals and humans.

The action is another example of the drug agency under the Obama administration becoming far more aggressive in taking hard looks at what it sees as threats to public health. In recent months, the Concerns about BPA are based on studies that have found harmful effects in animals, and on the recognition that the chemical seeps into food and baby formula, and that nearly everyone is exposed to it, starting in the womb.

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