Bisphenol A is a chemical compound containing two phenol functional groups. It belongs to the phenol class of aromatic organic compounds. It is prepared by the reaction of two equivalents of phenol with one equivalent of acetone. Bisphenol A was first synthesized by A.P. Dianin in 1891. Bisphenol A was investigated in the 1930’s during the search for synthetic estrogens. At that time, another synthetic compound, diethylstilbestrol, was determined to be more powerful than estrogen itself, so bisphenol A was not used as a synthetic estrogen. It’s current uses are as a primary monomer in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.
Bisphenol A is also used as an antioxidant in plasticizers and as a polymerization inhibitor in PVC. Polycarbonates are widely used in many consumer products, including sunglasses, CD’s, water and food containers and shatter-resistant baby bottles. Some polymers used in dental fillings also contain bisphenol A, while epoxy resins containing bisphenol A are popular coatings for the inside of cans used for canning food.
Before bisphenol-A was used as an ingredient in polycarbonate plastic, the substance was recognized as a chemical that behaves like the hormone estrogen. British scientists who analyzed several organic compounds for estrogenic effects in the 1930’s say in a 1933 article in the journal, Nature, that “the synthetic production of such substances would probably be of considerable clinical value” (Nature, Jan 14, 1933). These same scientists identified bisphenol-A as estrogenic in 1936 (Nature , June 13, 1936). The chemists who developed plastic made from bisphenol-A in the 1950’s likely cared more about the physical properties of the substance than it’s pharmacological properties.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight, high-performance plastic that possesses a unique balance of toughness, optical clarity, high heat resistance, and excellent electrical resistance. Because of these attributes, polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of common products including digital media (e.g., CD’s, DVD’s), electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment, reusable food and drink containers, and many other products.
BPA is also used in the production of epoxy resins. Epoxy resins have many uses including engineering applications such as electrical laminates for printed circuit boards, composites, paints and adhesives, as well as in a variety of protective coatings. Cured epoxy resins are inert materials used as protective liners in metal cans to maintain the quality of canned foods and beverages, and have achieved wide acceptance for use as protective coatings because of their exceptional combination of toughness, adhesion, formability, and chemical resistance.
No. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency records, bisphenol A (BPA) has not been used as an inert ingredient in pesticide products in the U.S. since at least 1994. BPA’s status as an (inert) pesticide ingredient was recently rescinded by EPA, according to the June 11, 1999 Federal Register. According to the notice, BPA was removed from a listing of approved inert substances because it was not in use as an additive.
Although the vast majority of bisphenol A (BPA) is converted at manufacturing sites into products, low-level releases of BPA to the environment are possible. Government researchers have reported that, when detected at all, BPA is found in water at levels generally well below 1 part per billion. Extensive testing and environmental monitoring shows that BPA is rapidly biodegraded in the environment. The weight of scientific evidence shows that the trace amounts of BPA that are sometimes detected in waterways pose no risk to the environment