The chemical bisphenol-A should be banned from being used in plastic packaging for baby products, scientists have warned.
Evidence is growing that BPA can cause heart disease, breast cancer, hyperactivity and obesity.
A group of British, Italian and US toxicologists and cancer specialists wrote to the Independent newspaper urging the government to follow the lead of Denmark and ban the use of BPA in packaging such as baby bottles and food containers.
Denmark is the first country in Europe to ban BPA being used in food containers for under-threes, although the French government is considering doing the same. Canada and three states of the US have issued similar bans.
But the Food Standards Agency of the UK and the European Food Safety Authority have refused to follow suit.
The government should force companies to use safer plastics, said the letter from the scientists.
"To protect vulnerable populations, we believe it would be both prudent and precautionary in public health terms if products containing BPA used for baby and children's food and liquid packaging in the UK were withdrawn. BPA should be replaced by less hazardous substances," the letter read.