Headquartered at the
National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences NIH-HHS
Bisphenol A (BPA)
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A, more commonly known
as BPA, is a chemical widely used
to make polycarbonate plastics
and epoxy resins.
Where is BPA found?
Polycarbonate plastics have many
applications including use in some Why are people concerned What did the NTP
food and drink packaging such as about BPA? conclude about BPA?
water and baby bottles, compact discs, One reason people may be concerned The NTP has “some concern“ for BPA’s
impact-resistant safety equipment, and about BPA is because human exposure effects on the brain, behavior, and
medical devices including those used to BPA is widespread. The 2003-2004 prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and
in hospital settings.1 Epoxy resins are National Health and Nutrition children at current exposure levels.
used to coat metal products such as Examination Survey (NHANES), The NTP has “minimal concern“ for
food cans, bottle tops, and water supply conducted by the Centers for Disease effects on the mammary gland and
pipes. BPA can also be found in certain Control and Prevention (CDC), found an earlier age for puberty in females,
thermal paper products, including detectable levels of BPA in 93% fetuses, infants, and children at current
some cash register and ATM receipts. of Americans six years and older. exposure levels.
Some dental sealants and composites Another reason for concern, especially
may also contribute to BPA exposure. for parents, may be because some The NTP has “negligible concern“ that
laboratory animal studies report subtle exposure of pregnant women to BPA
How does BPA get into the body? develpmental effects in fetuses and will result in fetal or neonatal mortality,
newborns exposed to low doses of BPA. birth defects, or reduced birth weight
BPA can leach into food from the epoxy and growth in their offspring.
resin lining of cans and from consumer
products such as polycarbonate Why did the National Toxicology The NTP has “negligible concern“ that
tableware, food storage containers, Program (NTP) evaluate BPA? exposure to BPA will cause reproductive
water bottles, and baby bottles. The NTP Center for the Evaluation of effects in non-occupationally exposed
Additional traces of BPA can leach Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) adults and “minimal concern” for
out of these products when they are conducted the BPA evaluation. BPA was workers exposed to higher levels
heated at high temperatures. Recent selected for evaluation because of the in occupational settings.
studies also suggest that the public following factors:
may be exposed to BPA by handling • Widespread human exposure
cash register receipts.2 More research from use and occurrence in The NIEHS and NTP are
is needed to determine how much BPA the environment supporting research to better
from a receipt’s coating enters the body understand the potential health
and how it gets there. The National • Growing public concern effects of exposure to BPA.
Institute of Environmental Health • Amount of BPA produced
Sciences expects to support more
• Extensive database of animal
research to determine if BPA in
studies on reproductive and
receipts poses a risk to human health.
PO BOX 12233, MD K2-03
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Printed on recycled paper August 2010
What can I do to prevent
exposure to BPA?
If you are concerned, you can make
personal choices to reduce exposure:
• Don’t microwave polycarbonate
plastic food containers.
Polycarbonate is strong and
durable, but over time it may break
down from repeated use at high
• Avoid plastic containers with the
#7 on the bottom (http://www.
• Don’t wash polycarbonate plastic
containers in the dishwasher with
Explain the levels of concern The NTP conclusions are based on • Reduce your use of canned foods.
used by the NTP. What does the weight of scientific evidence, Eat fresh or frozen foods.
“some concern” mean? and integrate toxicity and exposure
information. • When possible, opt for glass,
“Some concern” represents the porcelain, or stainless steel
mid-point of a five-level scale of containers, particularly for hot food
concern used by the NTP. The likelihood How will the NTP
conclusions be used? or liquids.
of an adverse effect resulting from
human exposure is expressed as The NTP shares the results widely. • Use infant formula bottles that
a level of concern. The levels from For example, The NTP-CERHR are BPA free and look for toys
highest to lowest are: Monograph, which includes the that are labeled BPA free.
• Serious Concern NTP Brief on BPA, the Expert Panel
• Concern Report, and the public comments
on the Panel Report, are added to
• Some Concern
the NTP/CERHR and NIEHS Web sites,
• Minimal Concern and distributed to federal and state
• Negligible Concern agencies, and interested individuals Where can I go for more information?
In the case of BPA, the NTP expressed and organizations. It is also indexed For more information on what federal agencies
“some concern” for potential exposures in PubMed. are doing related to BPA, visit the following web
sites and search for “BPA.”
to the fetus, infants, and children. There
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
are insufficient data from studies in What is the FDA’s current http://www.hhs.gov
humans to reach a conclusion on perspective on BPA?
U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
reproductive or developmental In January 2010, the U.S. Food and http://www.fda.gov/
hazards presented by current Drug Administration (FDA) announced Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
exposures to BPA, but there is limited it shares the perspective of the NTP that http://www.cdc.gov/
evidence of developmental changes recent studies provide reason for some U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
occurring in some animal studies at concern about the potential effects of http://www.epa.gov/
doses that are experienced by humans. BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate Consumer Product Safety Commission:
It is uncertain if similar changes would http://www.cpsc.gov/
gland of fetuses, infants, and children.
occur in humans, but the possibility Visit the FDA Web site at http://www. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:
of adverse health effects cannot http://www.niehs.nih.gov
be dismissed. National Toxicology Program:
ucm064437.htm for more information. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov
Calafat AM, Weuve J, Ye X, Jia LT, Hu H, Ringer S, et al. 2009. Exposure to bisphenol A and other phenols in neonatal intensive care unit premature infants.
Environmental Health Perspectives 117(4):639-644.
Biedermann S, Tschudin P, and Grob K. 2010. Transfer of bisphenol A from thermal printer paper to the skin. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. Epub ahead of print.