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AUGUSTA, Maine (News Center) -- Thursday, Maine Board of Environmental Protection unanimously supported extending a ban on the chemical bisphenol-A or BPA to infant formula packing and baby food containers.

The hearing came two weeks after the Department of Environmental Protection recommended that the chemical should be banned from packaging used for infant formula, but not to baby and toddler food containers.

Board members say there is clear evidence babies are exposed to the chemical and studies have linked BPA to a host of health problems, including learning disabilities.

Board members say 80 percent of the baby food market has switched or has begun to switch to BPA-free packaging, including Nestle, which owns Gerber, the largest baby food manufacturer.

The board did not expand the ban to toddler food packaging, because they said it is difficult to define and regulate food marketed to toddlers.

'Of course, we're disappointed about not getting BPA out of canned food and toddler food. That's an issue we'll continue to work on because we need to protect all of our children from BPA.' said Tracey Gregoire,who backed the citizen initiated proposal.

The board will formally vote on the phase out rule next Thursday. If the legislature uphold the ban, it could go into effect as soon as mid-August.

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