The federal government is looking into whether bisphenol-A, a common chemical in hard plastic containers such as baby bottles, is harmful to humans.

The assessment is part of a new toxics program announced a year ago by Stephen Harper's government. Health Canada hopes to have a ruling on the chemical within a year.

But some daycare centres aren't waiting.

While children play in a centre at Toronto's George Brown College, the people in charge worry about plastic items used for food and drinks. The centre plans to take its own action and get rid of plastic products as soon as possible.

Manager Moira Bell said she is concerned bysome of the scientific studies. "The problem is that this is a chemical that is released into the formula once the bottle is heated," she said.

As recently as August 2006, Health Canadasaid there was nothing to worry about. "We've examined a risk for the toxicity of bisphenol-A and it does not pose a risk for the consumer," Paul Duchesne, a Health Canada media relations officer, said at the time.

But the departmentistaking a new lookat the scientific literature on the chemical, much of it contradictory or inconclusive.It is to finisha risk assessment in six months and produce a ruling in a year.

Karen Lloyd, the director in charge of the program, said it took the government five years to review such a product in the past, so this is much faster.

"I think the government is working extremely hard to make a very science-based decision and a decision that would be very protective of Canadians," she told CBC News.