Bisphenol A (BPA) Factsheet

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics. This type of plastic is used to make some types of beverage containers, compact disks, plastic dinnerware, impact-resistant safety equipment, automobile parts, and toys. BPA epoxy resins are used in the protective linings of food cans, in dental sealants, and in other products.

How People Are Exposed to BPA

General exposure to BPA at low levels comes from eating food or drinking water stored in containers that have BPA. Small children may be exposed by hand-to-mouth and direct oral (mouth) contact with materials containing BPA. Dental treatment with BPA-containing sealants also results in short-term exposure. In addition, workers who manufacture products that contain BPA can be exposed.

How BPA Affects People’s Health

Human health effects from BPA at low environmental exposures are unknown. BPA has been shown to affect the reproductive systems of laboratory animals. More research is needed to understand the human health effects of exposure to BPA.

Levels of BPA in the U.S. Population

In the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (Fourth Report), CDC scientists measured BPA in the urine of 2,517 participants aged six years and older who took part in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 2003–2004. By measuring BPA in urine, scientists can estimate the amount of BPA that has entered peoples’ bodies.

CDC scientists found BPA in the urine of nearly all of the people tested, which indicates widespread exposure to BPA in the U.S. population.

Finding a measurable amount of BPA in the urine does not imply that the levels of BPA cause an adverse health effect. Biomonitoring studies on levels of BPA provide physicians and public health officials with reference values so that they can determine whether people have been exposed to higher levels of BPA than are found in the general population. Biomonitoring data can also help scientists plan and conduct research on exposure and health effects.

Additional Resources

Food and Drug Administration

National Institutes of Health

Page last reviewed: April 7, 2017