Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a chemical used in making plastics, and is found in the linings of food and drink cans. The chemical is quite common – one study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 90 percent of people in the U.S. have BPA in their urine.
People are exposed to BPA most commonly through food and beverages. However, dust and water can also be sources of exposure. BPA can leach into food from plastic containers, or from a can’s lining.
In recent years, researchers have raised health concerns over BPA's ability to mimic the hormone estrogen, and potentially disrupt the hormone system. Although the hormone-like properties of BPA are relatively weak, the widespread exposure of people to this chemical has motivated researchers and health officials to study the possible health effects.
So far, the study findings have been mixed, and scientists have not reached a consensus about whether BPA may harm human health. However, for people who are concerned about their chronic exposure to BPA, especially pregnant women and people caring for young children, there are ways to limit the exposure.
Here are a few ways that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health recommend to limit exposure to BPA.