Frequently asked questions about Bisphenol A (BPA)
What is Bisphenol A?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
Where is BPA found?
Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.
How does BPA get into the body?
The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.
Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.
If I am concerned, what can I do to prevent exposure to BPA?
Some animal studies suggest that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. Parents and caregivers, can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA:
- Check the BPA status of the products you buy.
- 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. (Click here for bowls and containers that are microwaveable and BPA free).
- Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom.
- Reduce your use of canned foods.
- When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
- Use baby bottles that are BPA free
Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Services - FAQ