The Canadian government has announced it will ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, becoming the first government worldwide to take such action. The government immediately will begin drafting regulations to ban the importation, sale and advertising of baby bottles that contain the controversial chemical.

The government’s confirmation of the BPA baby bottle ban follows an announcement last year in which the Canadian government warned of its intentions.

“Today’s confirmation of our ban on BPA in baby bottles proves that our government did the right thing in taking action to protect the health and environment for all Canadians,” stated Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird.

The government conceded that according to its scientific assessments, BPA exposure experienced by newborns and infants is below levels likely to cause health effects. “[H]owever, due to the uncertainty raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low levels of bisphenol A, the Government of Canada is taking action to enhance the protection of infants and young children,” the government stated in a release.

The main sources of exposure to BPA among babies is thought to be from bottles containing BPA, which can leach some of the chemical, particularly when they are heated, and infant formula cans with BPA-containing liners.

The Canadian government’s decision comes shortly after an arm of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that there is “some concern” that exposure to BPA can adversely affect the development of fetuses and young children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, has determined to the contrary that there is not sufficient evidence to justify tightening BPA-related regulations.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association called the Canadian government’s decision “disproportional to the risk determined by public health agencies.” The food and beverage industry “will continue to evaluate the safety of BPA for infants [and] children,” the group stated.