BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. They may also be used in other consumer goods. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. This assessment is based on review of hundreds of studies. The FDA is continuing its review of BPA, including supporting ongoing research. In the meantime, if you're concerned about BPA, you can take these steps to reduce your exposure:
A product that is BPA free is one which does not use the organic compound Bisphenol A in its construction. In the past many plastic products such as baby bottles, plastic plates and cutlery, storage containers and drink bottles have been made using BPA.
Infants and young children were shown to have the highest level of BPA exposure due to bottles and sippy cups being made from BPA plastics. When bottles and cups are washed, sterilized in hot water, or heated, small amounts of BPA leach out of the plastics. Links have also been made between BPA consumption and obesity. A study by the Yale School of Medicine in 2008 found a connection between BPA and the interference with the brains cells related to memory, mood and learning. Many other studies have been undertaken and have produced links between BPA and cancer, thyroid dysfunction, reproductive issues and attention deficits.
Due to this extensive research many products are now being manufactured without the substance. Makers of baby products are now selling BPA free products. As consumer awareness increases so too will the number of products that are BPA free.