AUGUSTA — The LePage administration dropped its opposition to new regulations concerning the chemical bisphenol A, known as BPA, according to a top official testifying before a legislative panel today.

BPA, a chemical used as a plastic hardener in many products, has been extensively studied by public health advocates, toxicologists and scientists in Maine and elsewhere. Most studies have concluded that the endocrine disrupting chemical poses cancer risks to children and pregnant women.

Lawmakers today heard public testimony on new state regulations that would require manufacturers to disclose if children’s toys and other products, such as sippy cups and baby bottles, contain the chemical and eventually ban the sale of such products.

“We believe the marketplace is already moving toward safer alternatives,” said Darryl Brown, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, during his testimony neither for nor against the measure.

Multinational companies including Walmart, Toys R Us and Gerber are already phasing out the sale of BPA-containing bottles.

Previously, Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, had listed repealing the BPA ban as part of a proposal he submitted to make Maine a more business-friendly state.

He also generated national headlines by saying he had not seen any scientific evidence to support concerns about BPA and made a joke that the worst-case impact of the chemical would result in some women growing “little beards.”