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Bisphenol A (BPA)

Q: Where Am I Exposed?

Bisphenol-A leaches into foods and liquids stored in polycarbonate plastic and plastic-lined containers or water tanks. The older the polycarbonate plastic container, the greater the leaching activity. Temperature affects the amount of leaching from these containers, with higher temperatures (as from dishwashing or boiling) increasing leaching. Phthalates leach into foods from plastic packaging as well. Food that is stored in BPA-lined metal cans or plastic storage containers absorbs some of the BPA from the container. Babies are exposed to these chemicals when they mouth plastic toys, drink baby formula from cans lined with plastic resins, or drink from plastic baby bottles. Since fetuses and babies are particularly susceptible to the health effects of these toxic chemicals, parents should be particularly concerned about exposures both before and after birth.

Q: What Can I Do?

  • Avoid plastics, especially those that leach: PVC (#3), polystyrene (#6) and other plastics (#7) are also known to leach harmful chemicals such as phthalates or BPA into the foods they contain;
  • Substitute Safer Plastics: For a guide on plastics, visit the Learning and Developmental Disability Initiative’s (LDDI) Practice Prevention Columns
  • Use plastic alternatives: Options include glass, ceramic and stoneware, stainless steel containers, wax paper sandwich bags, and wood cutting boards.

For more information, visit:
Adverse Health Effects of Plastics
• General information on healthier consumer choices, the Green Guide

Adapted from the Practice Prevention Columns on the Collaborative on Health and the Environment website, and other sources as indicated.