Potential food contaminant arising from its use in reusable polycarbonate food containers such as water carboys, baby bottles and kitchen utensils
Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is a difunctional building block of several important plastics and plastic additives. With an annual production of 2-3 million metric tonnes, it is an important monomer in the production of polycarbonate. It is a potential food contaminant arising from its use in reusable polycarbonate food containers such as water carboys, baby bottles and kitchen utensils. Suspected of being hazardous to humans since the 1930s, concerns about the use of bisphenol A in consumer products were regularly reported in the news media in 2008 after several governments issued reports questioning its safety, and some retailers removed baby bottles and other children's products made from it from their shelves.
Top Gene Interactions
- Metabolism: Bisphenol A (BPA) is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after ingestionand is then converted to a number of metabolites, mainly BPA glucuronide, in the liver . Metabloites of Bsiphenol A (BPA) include isopropyl-hydroxyphenol (produced by the cleavage of BPA), a bisphenol A glutathione conjugate, glutathionyl-phenol, glutathionyl 4-isopropylphenol, and BPA dimers. The monoglucuronide conjugate was the major urinary metabolite; unchanged BPA is the principal component excreted in feces (A287, A288).
- Uses/Sources: Bisphenol A is used primarily to make plastics, and products containing bisphenol A-based plastics have been in commerce for more than 50 years. It is used in the synthesis of polyesters, polysulfones, and polyether ketones, as an antioxidant in some plasticizers, and as a polymerization inhibitor in PVC. It is a key monomer in production of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic, which is clear and nearly shatter-proof, is used to make a variety of common products including baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical and dental devices, dental fillings and sealants, eyeglass lenses, CDs and DVDs, and household electronics. Epoxy resins containing bisphenol A are used as coatings on the inside of almost all food and beverage cans. Bisphenol A is also a precursor to the flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A, and was formerly used as a fungicide. (L953)
- Health Effects: Permanent changes to genital tract, changes in breast tissue that predispose cells to hormones and carcinogens, increased prostate weight 30%, lower bodyweight, increase of anogenital distance in both genders, signs of early puberty and longer estrus, decline in testicular testosterone, breast cells predisposed to cancer, prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer, decreased maternal behaviors, reversed the normal sex differences in brain structure and behavior, U.S. human exposure limit (not a result from an animal study, but a guideline set by EPA). (L953)
- Symptoms: Bisphenol A has low acute toxicity, with an oral LD50 of 3250 mg/kg in rats, but it is an endocrine disruptor. Low doses of bisphenol A can mimic the body's own hormones, possibly causing negative health effects. There is thus concern that long term low dose exposure to bisphenol A may induce chronic toxicity in humans. (L953)
- Treatment: Consider dilution immediately after ingestion. Insertion of a specialized nasogastric tube after confirmation of a circumferential burn may prevent strictures. In case of inhalation, move patient to fresh air and monitor for respiratory distress. If cough or difficulty breathing develops, evaluate for respiratory tract irritation, bronchitis, or pneumonitis. In case of eye contact, irrigate exposed eyes with copious amounts of room temperature water for at least 15 minutes. Decontaminate skin or mucous membranes immediately with water and a soft sponge. (T36)
- Route of Exposure: Oral (L953) ; inhalation (L953) ; dermal (L953)
- Carcinogenicity: No indication of carcinogenicity to humans (not listed by IARC).
- Toxicity: LD50: 2230 mg/kg (Oral, Rabbit) (T249)