Last month, Ohio residents filed a class action complaint against five of the largest baby bottle and “sippy cup” makers: Avent, Dr. Brown’s, Evenflo, Gerber, and Playtex. The lawsuit alleges that the bottle makers were aware of the dangers of Bisphenol-A (commonly referred to as “BPA”) but misrepresented, both intentionally and negligently, their products’ safety. BPA, a component of clear polycarbonate, is commonly used in baby bottles, pacifiers and other baby and adult products.

Plaintiffs claim that BPA from the baby products leached into their children’s milk, formula and juice. They allege that BPA is associated with various health problems, including breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, miscarriage, impaired female reproductive development, sperm defects and low sperm counts. They also allege the BPA is associated with chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, early onset of puberty, impaired learning and memory, increased aggression, reversal of normal sex differences in the brain structure, and elimination of sex differences in behavior.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants were aware of the risks of BPA but intentionally and negligently misrepresented their products as safe and intended for use by infants and children in their advertising, packaging, labeling and public statements. The complaint alleges a violation of the Ohio Consumer Protection Act.

Residents of Connecticut recently filed a similar lawsuit against Playtex for its use of BPA in baby bottles.

There are currently proposals in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives to ban the use of BPA. New York Senator Charles Schumer recently introduced the BPA-Free Kids Act of 2008 in the Senate, which would ban children’s products that contain BPA. Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey recently introduced the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2008 in the House, which would ban BPA from all food containers.

More than 6 million pounds of BPA is produced in the United States each year. It is found in dental sealants, liners of food cans, CDs and DVDs, eyeglasses and hundreds of household goods. While no study has yet conclusively determined that BPA is harmful to humans, there are strong indications that it is harmful and further research is being conducted. Retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us have pledged to stop selling baby bottles containing BPA because of the possible harm from and the public outcry against products containing BPA.

Click here to read the complaint filed in Ohio; click here to read the complaint filed in Connecticut; click here to read the proposed BPA-Free Kids Act of 2008; click here to read the proposed Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2008; and click here to read more about BPA-free baby products.