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1. CHEMICALS

U.S. panel finds 'minimal' concern about plastics additive

Exposure to a plastics additive found in baby bottles and food containers has little to no effect on human health, a nine-member federal advisory committee concluded yesterday. The panel expressed "minimal" concerns about the effect of the chemical -- bisphenol A -- on the prostate gland, "minimal concern" about how it might accelerate the onset of puberty in children and "negligible" concern about the chemical's ability to cause birth defects and malformations. But the committee found "some concern" about how the chemical can affect neural and behavioral health in infants and that the level of concern "may be elevated" for adults exposed to the chemical in an occupational setting.

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