Bisphenol-A | BPA Health and Safety | Chemical Safety Facts

BPA (Bisphenol A)

BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins that are essential to a wide variety of consumer and industrial products, including many applications important to public health and food safety.

What is BPA?

BPA is one of the most thoroughly tested chemicals in use today and has a safety track record of more than 50 years. The consensus of major government agencies around the world is that BPA is safe as used in food-contact applications. As recently as February 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) answered the question: “Is BPA safe?” with one word: “Yes”

You may have heard claims that BPA exposure causes health effects in people. Scientific research shows that in humans, BPA is quickly metabolized and eliminated from the body – it does not accumulate in blood or tissues. Because of the way BPA is processed in the body, it is very unlikely that exposure to BPA at typical levels could cause health effects.

Uses & Benefits

Products made from BPA meet high-performance demands. Epoxy resins made with BPA are tough and readily adhere to metal surfaces, making them excellent materials for protective coatings. Polycarbonate plastic made with BPA is shatter-resistant, lightweight, and has high optical clarity similar to glass.

Polycarbonate Plastic

  • Strong, shatter-resistant polycarbonate is used for helmets and protective sports visors to help protect children and athletes from injuries.
  • Polycarbonate plastic also is used to make housings for electronic products such as cell phones and laptops, as well as optical discs such as CDs and DVDs. Because of its extreme durability and strength, polycarbonate plastic is particularly useful for making component parts that need to be thin and light, but strong.
  • Polycarbonate plastic used in automobiles helps make cars lighter and more fuel-efficient while maintaining safety.
  • Polycarbonate plastic provides the benefit of long-lasting transparency and durability in new, design-inspired LED lighting in vehicles.

Epoxy Resins

  • Food cans and other metal containers are often coated with epoxy resin linings made with BPA to help prevent direct food contact with metal, which helps protect food from contamination and spoilage.
  • High-performance epoxy resins are used to make aircraft, cars, bicycles, boats, golf clubs, skis and snowboards durable, flexible and strong.
  • Durable and decorative floorings, such as terrazzo flooring, chip flooring and colored aggregate flooring, are made from epoxy resins.

Safety Information

The consensus of major government agencies around the world is that BPA is safe as used in food-contact applications. Scientists informing those bodies have stated in their assessments that exposure to BPA is many times lower—even 1,000 times lower—than levels set by governments to assure a margin of safety.

As recently as February 2016, FDA updated its perspective on BPA, answering the question: “Is BPA safe?” with one word: “Yes”. It is important to note that scientific experts at FDA, and other regulatory bodies, review the full weight of the scientific evidence when making decisions about safety.

Government agencies that have recently ruled on the safety of BPA include:

Tested, Effective, Affordable

BPA is one of the most reviewed and tested chemicals in the world. Its use is critical to health and safety in many consumer and industrial products. By protecting food from contamination and spoilage, cans with epoxy resin linings have a shelf life of two years or longer, which is essential to feeding large numbers of people in disaster-relief and military operations. The wide array of functional products made from polycarbonate – from eyeglass lenses to high-performance sports equipment – contribute to public health advances and consumer safety.

Answering Questions

In recent years, many claims have been made about the health effects of BPA. Extensive scientific data about BPA provides consumers with information about BPA safety and help put public confusion about BPA into perspective:

If I buy a “BPA-free” product, is it safer?

There is no scientific basis to say that BPA-free products are safer than products with BPA. “Free of” claims are used to indicate that a product does not contain a certain material, such as BPA, but they can sometimes be misleading. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has specifically cautioned that “free-of claims may deceive consumers by falsely suggesting that … the marketer has ‘improved’ the product by removing the substance.”

The FDA confirms that “the use of BPA in food packaging and containers is safe” and that “BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods.”

Is there concern that exposure to BPA can cause harm or result in serious diseases?

While there have been many hundreds of studies on BPA, none has shown a direct cause-and-effect relationship between BPA and any human health effects.

When government scientists review studies to make a safety recommendation, they look at the “weight of the evidence,” meaning the information available from all sources, and how well each study was conducted. The issue is not the quantity of studies, but their quality and the scientific value. Studies are different, and are not of the same quality. Some are conducted according to internationally recognized standards that ensure methodological and statistical reliability, and others are not.

Government regulators have the responsibility of reviewing all studies and considering issues like study design and quality and whether the result of any particular study was repeated in other studies. In the United States, FDA is the agency charged with this review for food contact applications. As recently as February 2016, FDA updated its perspective on BPA, answering the question: “Is BPA safe?” with one word: “Yes”.

For more information: http://www.factsaboutbpa.org/bpa-overview/myths-realities.