Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical used to make a hard clear plastic called polycarbonate, some sealants, and thermal paper such as the paper used to print cash register receipts.
Most of us living in the United States have BPA in our bodies, but the human health effects are unknown. Our main sources of BPA are household products. Today, fewer products contain BPA than in 2010 because of efforts by Washington State, federal agencies and some product manufacturers.
BPA enters our bodies mainly through food and beverages that have been in contact with polycarbonate.
Human exposure to BPA is widespread. A survey of the U.S. population found BPA in 93 percent of urine samples from people age 6 and older. 1
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Toxicology Program agree that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. 2
Find tips to reduce infant’s exposure to BPA.
The best way to reduce your BPA exposure is to avoid household products that contain BPA.
Food containers already at home:
Safer practices for food containers made of polycarbonate:
Safer practices for receipts
February, Washington Department of Ecology tested 74 products purchased from retailers and found that 96% did not contain BPA. Baby bottles, sippy cups, toddler containers, sports bottles and others were tested.
August, manufacturers of children’s products began reporting to the Washington State Department of Ecology if their products contained BPA, per the Children’s Safe Products Act.
July, sports bottles sold in Washington may no longer contain BPA.
July, the FDA issued a final rule that no longer allows polycarbonate resins in baby bottles and sippy cups. This decision was based on evidence that manufacturers of those products have already abandoned polycarbonate.
July, Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Design for the Environment program researched safer alternatives to BPA used in thermal paper receipts, in partnership with interested parties such as manufacturers, distributors and retail users. The draft report was published in July and the final report is anticipated by the Winter of 2013.
March, the FDA recommended taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. In cooperation with other agencies, FDA plans additional studies over the next several years.
August, BPA was included on Washington’s Reporting List of Chemicals of High Concern to Children.
July, food and beverage containers intended for children under age 3 sold in Washington may no longer contain BPA. Metal cans with interior coatings containing BPA are exempt (i.e., may still contain BPA).
March, Washington State enacted Chapter 70.280 RCW, with a schedule for banning BPA from certain products
January, the FDA revised its position on BPA's safety, noting "some concern" about its effects on children and infants. Previously, the FDA had held that trace amounts of BPA from food containers are not harmful.
1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
2. U.S. FDA, Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in Food Contact Application
3. Before July 2011, some retailers voluntarily sold BPA-free products. If you know your plastic food containers are “BPA-free,” continue to use them. Otherwise, we recommend replacing them.