Officials in Suffolk County in Long Island, N.Y., this week voted to ban the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups that contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to heart disease and diabetes as well as reproductive, immune system and other health problems. If the ban is enacted, it will be the first such limit in the U.S.

"This is a victory for all consumers, but most of all for our youngest ones," Urvashi Rangan, a policy analyst at the Consumers Union, said in a statement. "We are … hopeful this will have a resonating impact on the rest of the country and the marketplace as a whole."

The ban, however, will only take effect if Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy signs it into law, which he won't do until residents have a chance to weigh in on the issue at a public hearing set for March 16, according to Levy spokesperson Dan Aug.

"Because this is an issue that is new to the nation," says Aug, Levy "believes that a decision should be made only after proper deliberations." Similar bills are being considered in Washington State and Chicago, but others have already been shot down in California, Maryland and Minnesota.

Canada banned use of the chemical compound in baby products last year, and Consumers Union and other groups have been urging the U.S. government to do the same. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing the issue, but in a statement released in October said that "current levels of exposure to BPA through food and packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and babies." A study published earlier this year found that BPA remains in the human body much longer than previously believed, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that as many as 93 percent of Americans over the age of six have BPA in their bodies.

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