From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published December 2, 2011 05:40 PM

The Banning of BPA

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications. As it has been known to be estrogenic since the mid 1930s, concerns about the use of bisphenol A in consumer products have been regularly reported in the news media since 2008, after several governments issued reports questioning its safety, prompting some retailers to remove products containing it from their shelves. Reaction on a regulatory level has been mixed from around the world with differing rules on state. local and federal levels. This October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act (Assembly Bill 1319) into state law, and it will go into effect on July 13, 2013. The purpose of the law is to protect children from potential health hazards that may result from BPA exposure and consumption. It bans the use of BPA in all products related to babies and children. California Assembly Member Betsy Butler introduced the bill into legislation, which gained the support of the governor and many legislators. California has some of strictest health and environmental laws and regulations in the United States. The banning of BPA in California further widens the gap between state and federal health laws and regulations.


A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised further concerns regarding exposure of fetuses, infants and young children. In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance. In the European Union and Canada, BPA use is banned in baby bottles.

Bisphenol A has been known to be leached from the plastic lining of canned foods and polycarbonate plastics, especially those cleaned with harsh detergents or that contain acidic or high-temperature liquids. BPA is an ingredient in the internal coating of metal food and beverage cans used to protect the food from direct contact with the can.

Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor, which can mimic the body's own hormones and may lead to negative health effects. Early development appears to be the period of greatest sensitivity to its effects, and some studies have linked prenatal exposure to later neurological difficulties. Regulatory bodies have determined safety levels for humans, but those safety levels are currently being questioned or under review as a result of new scientific studies. A 2011 study that investigated the number of chemicals pregnant women are exposed to in the U.S. found BPA in 96% of women.

In 2007, a consensus statement by 38 experts on bisphenol A concluded that average levels in people are above those that cause harm to many animals in laboratory experiments. However, they noted that while BPA is not persistent in the environment or in humans, biomonitoring surveys indicate that exposure is continuous, which is problematic because acute animal exposure studies are used to estimate daily human exposure to BPA, and no studies that had examined BPA pharmacokinetics in animal models had followed continuous low-level exposures. They added that measurement of BPA levels in serum and other body fluids suggests that either BPA intake is much higher than accounted for, or that BPA can bioaccumulate in some conditions such as pregnancy, or both.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that recyclable plastic products marked with a number 3 or 7 may contain BPA, but plastic products with the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are unlikely to contain BPA.

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