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As of October 1, 2020, NLM will discontinue the Tox Town website, This change is part of NLM’s initiative to align and consolidate the Library’s consumer health information to make it easier for online health information seekers to find and navigate trusted health information from NLM.

We invite users to visit topics related to environmental health, safety, and toxicology on MedlinePlus, the NLM’s flagship website for health information for patients, families, and the general public. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) also offers related resources that may be of interest: Kids Environment, Kids Health, Health & Education, and For Educators. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact NLM Customer Service.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

What is Bisphenol A (BPA)?

Bisphenol A, also called BPA, is a white solid that has been used since the 1960s to make plastics that are lightweight, clear, and hard.

BPA plastic products include older infant and baby bottles, sippy cups, and toys. BPA can also be in water bottles, plastic dinnerware, reusable cups, food and drink packaging, and medical devices. Other products that may contain BPA include floorings, paints, food can and wine vat linings, and dental sealants.

As of 2012-2013, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations no longer authorize the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, and packaging for infant formula.

See also: Factories Homes Microplastics Birth Defects Cancer Learning and Developmental Disabilities

Where is Bisphenol A (BPA) found?

  • Consumer products - hard plastic products, food packaging, and baby products
  • Food, water, and beverages - leaching from plastic products and containers

How can I be exposed to Bisphenol A (BPA)?

Bisphenol A (BPA) commonly enter(s) the body through:


Ingestion (swallowing)

  • Swallowing food, water, or beverages that have been in containers made with BPA, or having dental sealants that contain BPA.

What happens when I am exposed to Bisphenol A (BPA)?

BPA is an endocrine disruptor. Exposure to BPA can cause:

  • Changes in the development and behavior of infants and children
  • Changes in a developing fetus
  • Interference with the body’s natural hormones
  • Changes in reproductive function

Who is at risk for exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA)?

  • Consumers
    • Many plastic consumer products and food and beverage containers contain BPA.
  • Infants and children
    • Many older products for infants and children contain BPA.

Reduce your risk

If you think your health has been affected by exposure to BPA, contact your health care professional. 

Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling chemicals. For poisoning emergencies or questions about possible poisons, please contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

  • Do you eat food from cans lined with BPA plastics or use plastic containers to store or heat foods?
  • Do you use bottled water and beverages?
  • Do you use plastic baby bottles or sippy cups for your children?
  • Do your children play with plastic toys?
  • Check labels on bottles and food containers to make sure they are BPA-free.
  • Discard plastic baby bottles, infant feeding cups, water bottles, food containers, and toys that might contain BPA.
  • Avoid using plastic storage containers marked with recycle codes #3 or #7, which contain BPA.
  • Avoid heating plastics in the microwave, which may cause BPA and other chemicals to leach into foods.
  • Avoid food from cans that might be lined with BPA plastics.
  • Replace plastic products with reusable glass cookware and baby bottles. Replace plastic water bottles or coffee and tea mugs with glass or stainless steel.
  • Keep plastics cool.
  • Eat fewer canned goods and more fresh foods when possible.
  • Discard plastic baby bottles, cups, and food containers that are scratched or contain BPA.
  • Use baby bottles and sippy cups that are BPA-free.
  • Do not put boiling or very hot infant formula or other liquids in bottles that may contain BPA

Additional Resources

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) Factsheet
    State of California
    Factsheet about bisphenol A (BPA), possible health concerns, and information on reducing exposure to this chemical.
  • Consumer Guide: Phthalates and Bisphenol A
    Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units
    Consumer guide to phthalates and bisphenol A that addresses sources of phthalate exposure, phthalate health effects, and how to protect yourself from phthalates in consumer products.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
    Information about bisphenol A (BPA), how it gets into the body, and health concerns related to exposure to this chemical, which is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, from a federal institute that investigates the interplay between environmental exposures, human biology, genetics, and common diseases to help prevent disease and improve human health.

Science Classroom (Grades 6-8)

Enhance your education on toxic chemicals in our environment using lesson plans, games and activities, videos, informational websites, and more.

Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in Food Contact Application
Food and Drug Administration
Information about bisphenol A (BPA) in food containers and packaging.
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