What BPA is: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound used to make certain kinds of plastics (polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins). BPA is one of the world’s highest production chemicals, with more than 6 billion pounds produced annually.
Where we encounter BPA:
- Plastics containing BPA are found in all stages of our food production chain, as BPA-containing materials are commonly used to process and pack food.
- BPA-containing products are found in almost all households in the U.S. and in many other countries.
- BPA is used in many different kinds of products, including:
- Water bottles and baby bottles that are made of polycarbonate plastics,
- Water supply pipe linings in both homes and commercial establishments,
- Food can linings,
- Medical devices,
- Dental sealants,
- Cash register and ATM receipts.
- The extensive presence of BPA-containing products has led to widespread and continuous human exposure in most places around the world.
- Researchers are still learning about the ways that human bodies take in BPA, but the main route of exposure is thought to be through eating food or drinking water that was stored in or passed over BPA-containing plastics, or through dental sealants. Absorption through the skin or inhalation may also play a role in human exposure.
- BPA has been shown to act as an endocrine disruptor that behaves like the hormone estrogen at low doses.
- Animal Studies show BPA is associated with:
- Altered sexual and reproductive development,
- Altered brain structure and behavior,
- Increase in weight gain,
- Earlier onset of puberty in females,
- Increased incidence of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, reproductive cancers,
- Trangenerational genetic effects.
- Animal studies also suggest that periods of development, such as infancy, childhood and puberty, may be the windows of highest vulnerability to damage from BPA exposure.
- Very few studies have examined the health effects of BPA in humans. Very little is known about the effects of BPA in humans.
CERCH Findings on BPA:
- This research is currently in progress.
- See the CHAMACOS Study: Health Outcomes Study page, to learn about our research plan for BPA.