Wisconsin has joined a growing list of state governments taking BPA regulation into their own hands. Governor Jim Doyle signed a bill into law Wednesday banning the chemical from being used in plastic bottles and cups intended for children three years and younger.

The new law also requires that baby bottles, sippy cups, and

similar items meant for small children be labeled as “BPA Free.”

sippy-cup3.jpgBPA, or Bisphenol-A, is an industrial chemical  used to manufacture a range of plastic products, including water bottles and the lining of food and beverage cans. The chemical is now also found in an overwhelming majority of Americans, and a recent study found traces of it in 90 percent of infant cord blood.

A growing body of research has linked BPA exposure to disruptions in the endocrine system,

an issue that can cause reproductive, neurological, and behavioral

problems. The federal government has yet to make a final decision on whether low level exposure to the chemical is a threat to public health.

After missing three deadlines to make a determination on the safety of BPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in January that, while it has “some concern” about the safety of the chemical, the agency won’t be taking regulatory action until more research is conducted.

While the federal government continues to review the issue, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released tips for parents to minimize infant exposure to BPA.

The government also recently launched a $30 million interagency research initiative to review BPA safety.

As public health officials at the top go back to the scientific drawing board, several states are initiating local regulations.

Last month, Washington state passed a similar ban. Minnesota, Connecticut, the City of  Chicago and Suffolk County, NY also have BPA bans on the books, as does Canada.

BPA legislation is also being considered in Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.