Beginning in June, the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) will be prohibited in baby bottles in the European Union.
The European Commission approved the ban Thursday after months of negotiations with member governments, scientists and manufacturers.
Within the European Union, France and Denmark have already imposed bans on baby bottles with BPA. Denmark also prohibits the chemical in all food containers and products for very young children.
The European Parliament had already called for such a rule but in September the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) said that despite uncertainties, the chemical was safe in small quantities, and recommended keeping current limits in place.
Some members of the European Parliament asked manufacturers not to wait for the June deadline to discontinue using the chemical, noting that some companies have conceded to consumer demands by phasing it out.
In October, Canada became the first nation to declare BPA a toxic substance. While several U.S. states have BPA bans in place, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet made a final decision on whether low-level exposure to BPA is a public health threat. It did announce in January, however, that it had “some concerns” about the chemical.
BPA is widely used in polycarbonate baby bottles and sippy cups and in the lining of food cans. The chemical is an endocrine disruptor, but research has differed on whether the amount that leaches into food can be considered harmful.