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About BPA

Bisphenol A Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about bisphenol A (BPA). If your questions aren't answered below, please contact us.

Questions

What is BPA?

How is BPA used?

How much BPA is produced?

Has BPA been tested for safety?

Does BPA pose a risk to human health?

Am I exposed to BPA from polycarbonate plastics?

Am I exposed to BPA from can linings?

Does BPA leach out of dental sealants?

What about claims that very low-dose exposure to BPA has resulted in reproductive effects in laboratory animals?

Is BPA used in pesticides?

Is BPA found in the environment?

Does BPA adversely impact aquatic organisms?

Is there an alternative to BPA in consumer products?

How can I get an answer to a specific question about BPA?

Answers

What is BPA?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic resins, epoxy resins, and other products.

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How is BPA used?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight, high-performance plastic that possesses a unique balance of toughness, optical clarity, high heat resistance, and excellent electrical resistance. Because of these attributes, polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of common products including digital media (e.g., CDs, DVDs), electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment, reusable food and drink containers , and many other products.

BPA is also used in the production of epoxy resins. Epoxy resins have many uses including engineering applications such as electrical laminates for printed circuit boards, composites, paints and adhesives, as well as in a variety of protective coatings. Cured epoxy resins are inert materials used as protective liners in metal cans to maintain the quality of canned foods and beverages, and have achieved wide acceptance for use as protective coatings because of their exceptional combination of toughness, adhesion, formability, and chemical resistance.

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How much BPA is produced?

In 2002, approximately 2.8 million tons of bisphenol A (BPA) was produced globally (Source: Chemical Market Associates, Inc. (CMAI)). Most BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.

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Has BPA been tested for safety?

Yes. Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most extensively tested materials in use today. BPA has been safely used in consumer products and researched and studied for over 40 years. The weight of scientific evidence clearly supports the safety of BPA and provides strong reassurance that there is no basis for human health concerns from exposure to BPA.

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Does BPA pose a risk to human health?

Safety assessments of bisphenol A (BPA) conclude that the potential human exposure to BPA from polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins is more than 400 times lower than the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This minimal level of exposure to BPA poses no known risk to human health.

The use of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins for food contact applications has been and continues to be recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Food, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency, and other regulatory agencies worldwide.

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Am I exposed to BPA from polycarbonate plastics?

Researchers from government agencies, academia, and industry worldwide have studied the potential for bisphenol A (BPA) to migrate from polycarbonate products into foods and beverages. These studies consistently show that the potential migration of BPA into food is extremely low, generally less than 5 parts per billion under conditions typical for uses of polycarbonate products. At this level, a consumer would have to ingest more than 1,300 pounds of food and beverages in contact with polycarbonate every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Consequently, human exposure to BPA from polycarbonate plastics is minimal and poses no known health risk.

The use of polycarbonate plastic for food contact applications continues to be recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Commission Scientific Committee on Food, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency, the Japan Ministry for Health and Welfare and other regulatory authorities worldwide.

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Am I exposed to BPA from can linings?

Government and industry researchers have reported that bisphenol A (BPA) is generally not detected in canned beverages and only extremely low levels (generally less than 37 parts per billion) of BPA have been reported to migrate into some canned foods. At these levels, a consumer would have to ingest more than 500 pounds of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Consequently, human exposure to BPA from can coatings is minimal and poses no known health risk.

Can coatings continue to be recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.K. Food Standards Agency, the EU Scientific Committee on Food and other government bodies worldwide.

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Does BPA leach out of dental sealants?

Several studies have reported that trace levels of bisphenol A (BPA) may be released from certain dental sealants, but only during a short time period immediately after application of the sealant. In addition, the highest level of BPA exposure reported from dental sealants is more than 50,000 times lower than levels shown to cause toxicity in animal studies. Based on these findings, human exposure to BPA from dental sealants is minimal and poses no known health risk.

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What about claims that very low-dose exposure to BPA has resulted in reproductive effects in laboratory animals?

The low-dose hypothesis for bisphenol A (BPA) has been thoroughly tested with a series of comprehensive, carefully conducted studies. This research includes definitive large-scale studies as well as studies aimed at replicating the results of studies reporting low-dose effects. The consistent lack of low-dose effects found in these studies demonstrates that the low-dose hypothesis is not valid.

The weight of scientific evidence clearly supports the safety of BPA and provides strong reassurance that there is no basis for human health concerns from exposure to low doses of BPA.

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Is BPA used in pesticides?

No. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency records, bisphenol A (BPA) has not been used as an inert ingredient in pesticide products in the U.S. since at least 1994. BPA's status as an (inert) pesticide ingredient was recently rescinded by EPA, according to the June 11, 1999 Federal Register. According to the notice, BPA was removed from a listing of approved inert substances because it was not in use as an additive.

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Is BPA found in the environment?

Although the vast majority of bisphenol A (BPA) is converted at manufacturing sites into products, low-level releases of BPA to the environment are possible. Government researchers have reported that, when detected at all, BPA is found in water at levels generally well below 1 part per billion.

Extensive testing and environmental monitoring shows that BPA is rapidly biodegraded in the environment. The weight of scientific evidence shows that the trace amounts of BPA that are sometimes detected in waterways pose no risk to the environment.

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Does BPA adversely impact aquatic organisms?

The weight of evidence from numerous validated studies demonstrates the trace levels of BPA that have been detected in the environment are far below the level at which adverse effects on aquatic organisms would be expected. Bisphenol A (BPA) does not accumulate in aquatic organisms to any appreciable extent and is not classified as bioaccumulative by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Is there an alternative to BPA in consumer products?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, and is integral to the manufacture of both materials. Both polycarbonate and epoxy are unique and versatile materials that out-perform other materials in a broad range of end-uses providing consumers with a unique range of properties not available in other materials. Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight, high-performance plastic that possesses a unique balance of toughness, optical clarity, high heat resistance, and excellent electrical resistance that make it ideal for a wide variety of applications. Epoxy resins are inert materials that have achieved wide acceptance for use as protective coatings and other applications because of their exceptional combination of toughness, adhesion, formability, and chemical resistance. Epoxy can coatings are essential to protecting food and beverages from contamination.

BPA is one of the most extensively tested materials in use today; its safety has been studied for more than 40 years. The extensive safety data that exist for BPA show that consumer products made with BPA are safe for their intended use and pose no known risks to human health. The U.S. FDA and international agencies charged to protect public health fully support the use of these materials.

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How can I get an answer to a specific question about BPA?

Contact us.

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