chemical information


Chemical Class:

Bisphenol A & Metabolites

Manufacturing/Use Status

there are no restrictions on the production/use in the U.S.

Found in these people:

Suzie Canales, Jean Salone, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Dr. Beverly Wright, Vivian Chang, Adult #108, Sara Corbett, Cord Blood Sample 11, Cord Blood Sample 12, Cord Blood Sample 13, Cord Blood Sample 14, Cord Blood Sample 15, Cord Blood Sample 16, Cord Blood Sample 18, Cord Blood Sample 19, Cord Blood Sample 20, Jesse Johnson, Winsome McIntosh, Judi Shils, Participant #18, Jessica Welborn, Participant #6, Anonymous Adult

Found in these locations:

Corpus Christi, TX; Green Bay, WI; New Orleans, LA; Oakland, CA; NY, USA; New York, NY; Washington, DC; Ross, CA; VA, USA; San Francisco, CA; MD, USA

Exposure routes:

Polycarbonate plastics, food can linings, dental sealants.


In use since the 1950's, bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical and a building block for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. BPA, and its derivative Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE), are found in many everyday products such as the lining of metal food and drink cans, plastic baby bottles, pacifiers and baby toys, dental sealants, computers, cell phones, hard plastic water bottles (such as Nalgene), paints, adhesives, enamels, varnishes, CDs and DVDs, and certain microwavable or reusable food and drink containers. These compounds have been shown to leach into food and water from containers - particularly after heating or as plastic ages - and from dental sealants.

Unfortunately, BPA is also a hormone-mimicking chemical that can disrupt the endocrine system at very low concentrations. More than a hundred animal studies have linked low doses of bisphenol A to a variety of adverse health effects such as reduced sperm count, impaired immune system functioning, increases in prostate tumor proliferation, altered prostate and uterus development, insulin resistance, alteration of brain chemistry, early puberty, and behavioral changes (vom Saal 1998; Howdeshell 1999; Sakaue 2001; Al-Hiyasat 2002; Palanza 2002; Schonfelder 2002; Wetherill 2002; Sugita-Konishi 2003; Kabuto 2004; Della Seta 2005; Markey 2005; Porrini 2005; Timms 2005; Alonso-Magdalena 2006).

One striking study found that very low doses of BPA (20 ng/g) given to mice for just one week caused an error in cell division called aneuploidy (Hunt 2003). Aneuploidy causes the incorrect amount of chromosomes to divide into the new cells and is linked to miscarriages and certain birth defects in people, such as Down syndrome.

Based on the results of this study, Japanese researchers recently looked at a small number of women to see if higher body burden levels of BPA were associated with recurrent miscarriage. They not only found such an association but also found evidence of aneuploidy in the miscarried fetuses, strongly suggesting that higher rates of miscarriage could be related to BPA (Sugiura-Ogasawara 2005).

Significantly, many of the studies showing adverse effects tested at levels already well below what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe (50 ug/kg/day). In fact, when the prominent BPA researcher Frederick vom Saal reviewed all of the relevant scientific literature in 2004, he found 31 studies showing statistically significant effects of BPA on vertebrate and invertebrate animals below the EPA's 'safe dose' level (vom Saal 2005). Notably, BPA appears to have a U-shaped dose response curve. In other words, studies of BPA often find that the chemical shows effects at low levels and at high levels but not at intermediate levels (Takai 2000; Talsness 2000; Welshons 2003).

Bisphenol A

Detected in polycarbonate plastic, dental sealants, and resins that line metal cans. Linked to hormone disruption, birth defects, cancer with effects at very low doses.

Bisphenol A has been found in 28 of the 70 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. It has also been found in 2,350 of the 2,612 people tested in CDC biomonitoring studies.

Other health concerns for Bisphenol A (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies)unknown

Results for Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 28 of 70 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in urine

Showing results from EWG Study #8, chemicals in mother and 2 children, Pets Project, Dateline NBC Families, Dateline NBC Families, Adult Minority Leader Report, Other Body Burden Studies

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 1.79 ug/g creatinine in urine
  • found in 12 of 19 people in the group

CDC biomonitoring results

  • geometric mean: 2.33 ug/g creatinine in urine
  • found in 2350 of 2612 people in the group
ug/g creatinine in urine 119

Bisphenol A results

in blood serum (wet weight)

Showing results from EWG/Commonweal Study #7, consumer product chemicals in adults and teens, EWG Study #6, consumer product chemicals in mothers and daughters, Pollution in Minority Newborns

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.456 ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum
  • found in 16 of 51 people in the group
ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum 8.61

Bisphenol A results

Detailed toxicity classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
Immune system toxicity - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedSugita-Konishi, Y., S. Shimura, et al. (2003). Effect of Bisphenol A on non-specific immunodefenses against non-pathogenic Escherichia coli. Toxicol Lett 136(3): 217-27.