What is bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a substance produced in large quantities for use mainly in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
Where is BPA found?
Polycarbonate plastics have many uses including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, CDs, medical devices and impact-resistant safety apparatus. Epoxy resins are used as varnishes to coat metal products such as bottle tops, food cans, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also add to BPA exposure.
How does BPA get into the body?
The main cause of exposure to BPA for the majority of people is through the diet. While water, dust, and air are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.
Bisphenol A can seep into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate cutleries and dishes, water bottles, baby bottles, and food storage containers. The quantity to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the bottle or liquid, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.
Why are people concerned about BPA?
One reason people may be concerned about BPA is because human exposure to BPA is widespread. The 2003-2004 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of 2517 urine samples from people six years and older. Another reason for concern, particularly for parents, may be because some animal studies report effects in fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA.
If I am concerned, what can I do to prevent exposure to BPA?
Some animal studies propose that infants and kids may be the most susceptible to the effects of BPA. Caregivers and parents can make the individual choice to cut exposures of their infants and children to BPA:
- When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
- Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.
- Use baby bottles that are BPA free.
- Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a number 7 on the bottom.
- Reduce your use of canned foods.