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About Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a building-block chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic as well as epoxy resins used as can linings. It is also found in some dental materials.

How am I exposed?

People are exposed to bisphenol A when the chemical leaches into food, formula, and water from cans, baby bottles, and water bottles. Bisphenol A in household dust may be another source of exposure. Finally, people are exposed from bisphenol A-containing dental materials.

Why should I be concerned?

Bisphenol A is a hormone disrupting chemical that has been shown to have a variety of health effects at low doses.

Health Concerns Include:

Brain development: laboratory animals exposed before birth show impaired learning, increased aggression, hyperactivity, and less maternal behavior when the females have their own offspring.

Reproductive development: Laboratory studies have found exposure before birth has lasting effects on levels of reproductive hormones, and causes early onset of sexual maturation in female offspring. It leads to decreased levels of testicular testosterone, greater prostate size, and decreased sperm production in laboratory animals. Decreased testosterone and sperm production have also been seen when adult animals are exposed to bisphenol A.

Miscarriage and Down’s syndrome: laboratory mice exposed to bisphenol A had greater rates of chromosomal misalignments, responsible for Down’s syndrome and a significant portion of miscarriages.

Diabetes and obesity: adult mice exposed to bisphenol A developed insulin resistance, which is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and can lead to diabetes and obesity. A 2008 study in people found that adults with greater exposure to bisphenol A had higher incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Cancer: laboratory research has found that exposure to bisphenol A alters mammary gland and prostate gland development in ways likely to predispose to later cancer.

What can government and industry do?

State and federal governments should take immediate action to end the use of bisphenol A in baby bottles, infant formula cans, sports water bottles, and food and beverage cans.

State and federal governments should determine whether alternatives are available for the use of bisphenol A in other products that may result in human exposure or environmental contamination.

Makers of products containing bisphenol A, especially baby bottles, sports water bottles, infant formula cans, and food and beverage cans, should phase out their use of the chemical in favor of safer alternatives.

How can I reduce my exposure?

  • Choose alternatives to polycarbonate plastic for baby bottles and sports water bottles. For babies, glass and cloudy plastic bottles are better choices. For sports bottles, the best choice is stainless steel.
  • Choose powdered rather than liquid infant formula. If you do need liquid formula, use bisphenol A-free containers.
  • Limit your intake of canned foods. For some canned foods, choices in bisphenol A – free cans are available from Eden Foods.