The FDA has declared that bisphenol A (BPA) is safe at the current levels occurring in foods, but a number of myths about BPA continue to cause concern and confusion in the public. Click to read some of the common myths about BPA and the realities we know from extensive scientific study.

Health Effects of BPA

  • Myth: BPA negatively affects health by interacting with the body’s endocrine system (as an endocrine disruptor).
    Reality:

    There is no risk of health effects at typical consumer exposure levels to BPA, according to the FDA. Further, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducted a comprehensive review of BPA and stated “It is not possible to conclude that BPA is an endocrine disruptor,” based on criteria set by the WHO (World Health Organization).
     
    Although BPA itself is weakly estrogenic, which means it has some similar properties to the hormone estrogen, extensive research demonstrates that trace levels of BPA in the diet are far too low to cause any estrogenic effects
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA and health. 

  • Myth: Hundreds of studies indicate that BPA causes a number of serious diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and asthma.
    Reality:

    According to leading health agencies from around the world (including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, the European Food Safety Authority and Food Standards Australia New Zealand), current exposure to BPA poses no health risks or safety issues to people of any age group (including unborn children, infants and pregnant women).
     
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. Recently, FDA scientists published the results of a large-scale government-funded study demonstrating that low-dose exposure to BPA did not result in the development of adverse health effects. We know from additional studies that even premature infants have ample capacity and capability to metabolize and eliminate BPA, which indicates that low level exposures are unlikely to cause health effects.
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA and health. 

  • Myth: BPA causes cancer.
    Reality:

    Research has concluded that BPA is not a carcinogenic risk to humans.  The Food Standards Australia New Zealand states that “BPA does not cause cancer,” and a comprehensive European Union risk assessment reviewed all relevant scientific evidence and concluded that “BPA does not possess any significant carcinogenic potential.”

    In addition, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, one of the leading breast cancer advocacy groups, reported in 2014 that “there is no scientific evidence supporting a link between BPA and the risk of breast cancer.”

    There has been extensive research into the leading causes of cancer.  According to the American Cancer Society, major risk factors for cancer include family history, genetic factors, and lifestyle factors such as obesity and diet.  People can benefit most from facts such as these that help them take meaningful steps to reduce risk.

    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA and health.

  • Myth: BPA exposure during pregnancy can negatively impact the health of the baby or mother.
    Reality:

    Current exposure to BPA poses no health risks or safety issues to people of any age group (including unborn children, infants and pregnant women), according to leading health agencies from around the world (including the FDA, Health Canada, the EFSA and FSANZ).  
     
    The safety of exposure to BPA in pregnant women and infants has been well-studied. In fact, a 2014 Health Canada study found that exposure to BPA in pregnant women is more than a thousand times lower than the safe intake level established by government agencies around the world.  Additionally, studies by researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have demonstrated that pregnant mothers, premature infants and days-old infants are able to eliminate BPA from the body.
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA and health. 

BPA Regulation & Labeling

  • Myth: California’s Proposition 65 warning requirements mean that products containing BPA are unsafe.
    Reality:

    A listing under Proposition 65, is not a safety assessment of BPA or polycarbonate plastic and does not indicate that products containing BPA are unsafe. Based on evaluation of extensive scientific information, including studies considered in the Proposition 65 listing process, government bodies worldwide have concluded that BPA is safe for use. For example, based on a comprehensive and well documented scientific review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) answers the question “Is BPA Safe?” with one word, “Yes.”
     
    In addition, there is not a consensus among government bodies that BPA meets the requirements to be listed under Prop 65. Notably, the FDA’s Acting Chief Scientist submitted a letter to OEHHA in early 2015 stating that the results of FDA’s own comprehensive research “do not support BPA as a reproductive toxicant.”
     
    Visit our Government Assessments page to see the science and learn more about BPA exposure and health.

  • Myth: The government looks at only a select number of studies and ignores other science when making safety determinations about BPA.
    Reality:

    BPA has been safely used for decades, and it has been the subject of many scientific studies. When government scientists review studies to make a safety recommendation, they have the responsibility of reviewing all studies and considering issues like study design and quality and whether the result of any particular study was repeated in other studies. Some are conducted according to internationally recognized standards that ensure methodological and statistical reliability, and others are not.

    Government agencies have established procedures regarding how they review scientific studies. Once agencies establish these rules, they apply them objectively and consistently, regardless of what entity provides the funding, what lab conducts the research or which researcher oversees the study.

    In the United States, the agency charged with this review for food contact applications is FDA. As of February 2016, FDA stated that “BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods.” And based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to “support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.” 

    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA and health. 

  • Myth: BPA-free products are safer than products with BPA.
    Reality:

    There is no scientific basis to say that BPA-free products are safer than products with BPA. ”Free-of” claims are used to indicate that a product does not contain a certain material, such as BPA, but they can sometimes be misleading. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has specifically cautioned that “free-of claims may deceive consumers by falsely suggesting that … the marketer has ‘improved’ the product by removing the substance.”
     
    The FDA confirms that “the use of BPA in food packaging and containers is safe” and that “BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods.”  
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA exposure. 

  • Myth: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups due to safety concerns.
    Reality:

    It is a common misconception that the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. Despite the fact that BPA has been proven safe for use in food containers, consumer demand led manufacturers to remove BPA from baby products, including baby bottles and sippy cups. To reflect the state of the consumer marketplace and to eliminate confusion for parents, ACC requested that the FDA amend its regulation to no longer provide for the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging, and the FDA agreed. FDA’s decision was not based on any determination that BPA is unsafe.

    Government and scientific bodies around the globe have extensively evaluated the weight of scientific evidence on BPA and have declared that BPA is safe as used, including in materials that come into contact with food, such as reusable food-storage containers and linings in metal cans.

    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA exposure. 

  • Myth: BPA has historically not been regulated, but the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been updated to fix that.
    Reality:

    BPA is one of the most well-studied chemicals in use today. Because people are primarily exposed to BPA through the diet, BPA has always been and continues to be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Based on extensive government research, along with results from other studies, FDA has long answered the question "Is BPA Safe?" with a clear answer - "Yes."

    In June 2016, Congress passed comprehensive reform legislation, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, which regulates chemicals broadly. The updated TSCA will subject all new and existing chemicals to an Environmental Protection Agency safety review. But when it comes to BPA, safety has already been established by FDA’s research and analysis.  

Exposure to BPA

  • Myth: Consumers should be concerned about the presence of BPA in canned foods and food stored in polycarbonate food containers.
    Reality:

    There is no need for concern. Government bodies around the world have concluded that the levels of human exposure to BPA from all sources combined, including food packaging, do not pose a risk to human health.
     
    Further, many studies have found that the amount of BPA that can migrate into foods and beverages from polycarbonate containers is minute. In fact, a consumer would have to ingest more than 1,300 pounds of food and beverages in contact with polycarbonate plastic each day just to reach the safe intake level set by U.S. government agencies.
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA and health. 

  • Myth: I will be harmed from BPA exposure from other sources, such as thermal receipt paper.
    Reality:

    There is no need for consumer concern about BPA exposure from other sources. In fact, recent data from the CDC show that total exposure to BPA, from all sources, is extremely low – about 1,000 times below the safe intake levels set by government bodies in the U.S. and Canada. Available data suggest that BPA is not readily absorbed through the skin and any that does is quickly eliminated from the body.
     
    Further, while some receipts made from thermal paper can contain BPA, the most relevant experimental data show very little BPA exposure from scenarios that are representative of real-life contact with thermal receipt paper. Recent studies from the U.S. National Toxicology Program and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health revealed that cashiers handling thermal receipt paper throughout a work shift were not exposed to high levels of BPA. Learn more about BPA and thermal receipt paper here.
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about BPA exposure. 

  • Myth: BPA in baby teething products is a cause for concern
    Reality:

    While a December 2016 study in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, reported the presence of trace amounts of BPA in a range of baby teething products marketed as BPA-free, there is no known or expected use of BPA, or materials made from BPA, in teethers. Further, the researchers did not investigate whether or not BPA identified in testing may have come from contamination as opposed to the teething products themselves. More importantly, however, this study focuses on the mere presence of chemicals, which does not equate with harm. In fact, according to the researchers themselves, the maximum level of BPA reported in this study are two to three orders of magnitude (100-1000 times) lower than the stringent safe intake limit established by the European Food Safety Authority. Moreover, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that BPA is safe at the very low levels to which consumers are typically exposed. Recently, FDA scientists published the results of a large-scale government-funded study demonstrating that low-dose exposure to BPA did not result in adverse health effects. In addition, we know from other studies that even premature infants have ample capacity and capability to metabolize and eliminate BPA, which indicates that low level exposures are unlikely to cause health effects.

  • Myth: Occupational exposure to BPA can be harmful.
    Reality:

    It is to be expected that handling chemicals in the workplace will result in exposure, and there is no reason to be concerned simply because exposure is measured. We know from extensive government research, along with the results of other studies that BPA is efficiently converted in the body to a biologically inactive metabolite, and that inactive metabolite is rapidly eliminated from the body in urine. BPA is not expected to accumulate in the body over time and there is limited potential for BPA to cause long-term health effects.

    One recent study on workplace exposure to BPA in workers at companies that make BPA or BPA-based materials confirmed that levels of BPA found in workers were below government established occupational exposure guidance values. In addition, the study also found that more than 99% of BPA detected in urine was in the form of the biologically inactive metabolite, which confirms that the important metabolic process to rapidly eliminate BPA from the body also occurs in workers.

    Most recently, researchers from the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency published the results of their large-scale study on inhalation toxicity of BPA.  Even at air concentrations far above exposure limits for BPA, no BPA-related toxic effects were found in this comprehensive study.  The researchers reported that the no observable adverse effect level was above the highest level tested.  

BPA in the Body

  • Myth: Our bodies cannot process BPA.
    Reality:

    Our bodies are fully capable of processing BPA. In fact, research on human volunteers shows that BPA is eliminated from the body within 24 hours of ingestion, even when exposure levels are much higher than average.
     
    When BPA is ingested, most of it is absorbed through the intestinal wall and converted to a substance with no known biological activity, meaning the new substance does not cause any interactions within our bodies. Any remaining BPA that was not converted through the intestines gets converted to that same biologically inactive compound in the liver. The inactive compound is quickly eliminated from the body through urine. Humans of all ages, even premature infants, are able to process BPA in this way.
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about how our bodies metabolize BPA. 

  • Myth: Infants and children are not able to process BPA as well as adults.
    Reality:

    Studies by researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have demonstrated that even premature and days-old infants have ample capacity and capability to process and eliminate BPA from their bodies.  
     
    Large-scale biomonitoring studies in the U.S. and Canada show that typical consumer exposure to BPA is far below safe limits set by government agencies—these studies include children, adults, and pregnant women. In fact, a 2014 Health Canada study found that exposure to BPA in pregnant women is more than a thousand times lower than the safe intake level established by government agencies around the world.
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about how our bodies metabolize BPA. 

  • Myth: BPA accumulates in the human body.
    Reality:

    BPA is rapidly eliminated from the body, preventing any accumulation.  
     
    The human body efficiently processes, or metabolizes, BPA and quickly eliminates it from the body. Several studies on human volunteers have shown that the very small amount of BPA that may be ingested during normal daily activities is converted to a biologically inactive substance, which is eliminated from the human body within 24 hours. This indicates that BPA is unlikely to cause health effects, in particular at the levels of BPA to which consumers may be exposed, which has been confirmed in large-scale toxicity studies.
     
    In contrast, similar studies on rodents, which are commonly used for toxicity studies, have demonstrated that rodents, in particular neonates, are less efficient at eliminating BPA from the body. This indicates that toxicity studies in rodents are likely to overstate the potential for health effects in humans.
     
    A recent study in mice by FDA specifically examined the potential for BPA to accumulate in adipose tissue (fat). Consistent with other similar studies, BPA was quickly eliminated from the body and results confirmed that BPA is not retained in fat.
     
    Visit our Key Studies page to see the science and learn more about how our bodies metabolize BPA.