The Perils of Bisphenol A: What You Need to Know

What Is BPA?

Bisphenol A is a chemical that's commonly used in two kinds of products—polycarbonate plastics such as those used in drinking bottles, and lacquers called epoxy resins that are used to coat the interior of food cans and bottle tops. Manufacturers use polycarbonate because it makes plastic clear and shatter-proof. But because it is also a synthetic estrogen, scientists believe it can affect the development of the reproductive system, increase the risk of certain cancers and contribute to behavioral issues.

Where Is BPA Found?

BPA is commonly found in food packaging and some plastic containers. It leaches through plastic beverage containers (such as baby bottles) and seeps into food stored in metal cans that are lined with epoxy resin. Almost all food cans (even those used for organic food and infant formula) contain BPA in the linings.

Who Is Most Commonly Exposed to BPA?

Nearly everyone. A 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study looked at BPA urine concentrations in people aged 6 and older. The study found that 93 percent of those surveyed tested positive for BPA. Women showed higher concentrations of BPA than men, and children had the highest concentrations of the chemical.

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