What is Bisphenol A?
BPA is a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic or epoxy resins, which are used in some food packaging materials, such as the protective lining inside metal-based food and beverage cans, or in polycarbonate plastic containers for food and beverages, tableware, and other products used in everyday life. Polycarbonate plastic is clear, strong, lightweight, and resistant to heat and shattering.
- Polycarbonate and epoxy resins are also safely used in other everyday consumer products such as cell phones, computers, household appliances, bicycle helmets and flooring.
- They have been used in consumer products for well over 40 years and the FDA regulates its use in food packaging materials.
How is BPA used?
BPA serves different purposes depending on the kind of packaging material containing it. BPA has been used in consumer products for well over 40 years and the FDA regulates its use in food packaging materials. For example, it is used as a lining in cans to make them safer, stronger and helps prevent foods from spoilage.
It is important to remember that food packaging serves an important safety purpose in protecting foods from pathogens or other contaminants.
Can BPA migrate out of food and beverage containers and accumulate in our bodies?
Any food packaging will have a very small interaction with the food it is designed to protect, including BPA in can linings. However, FDA has confirmed that BPA is safe because the amount is so extremely small and it doesn’t stay in our bodies because we quickly process and eliminate it.
In fact, a person would have to eat more than 500 pounds of canned food and beverages a day for a lifetime to exceed the FDA-approved safe level of BPA.
Should we try to eliminate BPA exposure through food?
No. At the top of FDA’s most recent consumer update on BPA, it says clearly that the agency has assessed this issue carefully and has not found a problem.
The bottom line is that top U.S. and international food safety agencies have evaluated the science on BPA and continue to affirm its safety in food packaging. That’s very clear when you look at the latest government information.
Are infants more at risk?
No, the FDA has recently affirmed that the amount of BPA we get through food packaging is so small that it doesn’t pose a health risk – and that includes the entire population, including newborns and expectant mothers.
Early on, some scientists wondered how much BPA we might get through food. But the answer from government-led studies is that the amount is extremely small. In fact, FDA states in its most recent consumer update that infants are exposed to much less BPA than had been previously thought. And whether you’re an adult or child, you rapidly process and eliminate BPA from your body.
How can I tell if a product contains BPA?
Consumers can identify products that contain BPA by referring to the numbers in the triangle on the bottom of plastic containers. These SPI Resin Identification Codes are used to identify from which type of plastic a product is made. Resin codes one through six identify particular resins while seven (7) includes all others, including those from BPA, and any combinations of the six.
||Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
||High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
||Polyvinyl Chloride (Vinyl)
|| Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
These numbers do not indicate the safety level of the product. They are merely meant to indicate what type of plastic the container is made of to help facilitate the recycling process.
What is the FDA doing to ensure public health related to BPA?
The FDA’s recent statement serves as an update of their evaluation of Bisphenol A. The agency, along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are supporting health studies to further evaluate and better determine the potential health effects of BPA exposure.
The FDA will provide updates to the public on significant new information on Bisphenol A as it becomes available.
Putting Risk in Perspective, Here’s What You Need to Know:
BPA continues to be used as a safe and effective food packaging compound adding value by keeping food safe and fresher for longer periods of time. Given what we currently know about the science of BPA and the value it brings to food packaging, there is currently no reason to change your diet or the food you eat.
- BPA has been used for over 40 years to manufacture strong, durable consumer products.
- BPA is one of the most studied chemical components ever and the research continues.
- The FDA’s position is that BPA is safe in food packaging. The agency has performed extensive research on BPA, has reviewed hundreds of other studies, and is continuing to address questions and potential concerns raised by certain studies.
- BPA is a basic component in the lining of cans that prevents corrosion and helps maintain a food’s quality, flavor and safety.
- Leading U.S. and international food safety agencies have evaluated the science on BPA and continue to affirm its safety in food packaging.
- Packaging serves important food safety function – it protects food from contaminants and keeps food fresh.
- According to the FDA and many other global food safety agencies, there’s no need to change what we buy or how we eat.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: FDA Continues to Study BPA
U.S. FDA: BPA Overview and Message for Consumers
European Food Standards Authority: 2010 Opinion of BPA
National Toxicology Program Information on Bisphenol A
European Food Safety Authority Information on Bisphenol A
Health Canada Information on Bisphenol A
Department of Health and Human Services: Bisphenol A (BPA) Information for Parents