Bisphenol A (BPA) was originally developed as a synthetic estrogen. Currently it is a common additive used in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Therefore, BPA is commonly found in drink containers, water bottles, liners of canned goods, baby bottles, sippy cups, water supply pipes and other items that our food and drink are in direct contact. It can also be in dental sealants and composites. Humans are exposed mainly through food and drink. BPA can leach out of products, into the mouth, food or beverage that is coming in contact with the container. This process of BPA leaching out of the container is enhanced with heat. Studies have shown effects in animal fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA, including behavioral changes and reproductive system effects. Studies have linked BPA exposure with heart disease, diabetes, and liver abnormalities in humans. The Breast Cancer Fund reports that over 200 studies show that exposure to BPA even at very small levels is linked to cancer, obesity, behavioral disorders, reproductive disorders, and brain and immune system disruption. The National Toxicology Program has evaluated BPA. They found “some concern” regarding fetuses, infants and children’s brain, behavior and prostate glands with average exposure to BPA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed 2517 study participants’ urine during the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 2003-2004. They found BPA in almost 93% of the samples tested. Children had the highest levels. Women had higher levels than men. To decrease exposure to BPA, the National Toxicology Program advises:
- Do not microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers; avoid plastic labeled with #7.
- Do not clean polycarbonate plastic in the dishwasher with strong detergents.
- Decrease consumption of canned goods in favor of fresh or frozen foods.
- Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, especially for hot food or beverages.
- Purchase and use baby bottles and toys that are BPA-free.
For more information on this topic, see the resourcesbelow.