baby profile with bottleBisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic estrogen that was originally developed as a pregnancy aid, but has since become a common additive in certain plastics. Despite evidence of its negative health impacts and the availability of safer alternatives, approximately 7 billion pounds of BPA are produced globally each year. As described in more detail below, Vermont has taken some key steps to cut exposure to BPA, but there is more we can do.

Health effects

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than 90% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies, with the highest concentrations found in children’s bodies. Prenatal exposure is also significant because the chemical is absorbed and distributed to the fetus through the placenta. Even low-dose exposure has been known to cause adverse health effects.

These include:

  • Developmental and behavioral issues
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Cancers
  • Increased health effects associated with aging

How we’re exposed

Exposure to BPA comes primarily from contaminated food and beverage containers. BPA is commonly found in plastic bottles, metal can linings, receipts, and reusable storage containers. This prevalent toxin is also one of the most frequently detected chemicals in groundwater, landfill leachate, surface water, sewage sludge, and treated waste water discharge.

Primary sources of exposure include:

  • Baby bottles
  • Infant and baby food containers
  • Water bottles
  • Canned foods
  • Reusable plastic food storage containers
  • Other food and beverage containers

Vermont regulations

In 2010, the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont successfully pushed for legislation that bans BPA from certain products, including reusable food and beverage containers, infant formula or baby food stored in plastic containers, jars or cans. This law also prohibits manufacturers from replacing BPA with other reproductive toxicants or known carcinogens. This legislation is a great step forward for protecting Vermonters from this toxin, but we can still reduce our exposure to BPA by avoiding items like single-use food and beverage containers that may still contain this chemical.