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BPA in plastic

What Bisphenol A (BPA) is and the research and evidence that supports our understanding of BPA.

Last updated: 12 January 2018

BPA is a chemical used to make plastics, including food storage containers and refillable drinks bottles. It's also used to make some protective coatings and linings for food and drinks cans.

Tiny amounts of the chemical can be transferred from packaging into food and drinks, however the level of BPA found in food is not considered to be harmful.

BPA safety assessments

Some people are concerned about BPA because it’s one of a large number of substances that could possibly interfere with our hormone systems. Extensive assessments have been carried out on BPA and new data is being reviewed.

The current full assessment has found that dietary exposure to BPA is not a health concern for any age group.

We agree that BPA currently poses no risk to health and is safe for use in production of plastics. We will continue to consider any new evidence in relation to BPA.

FSA Explains

Scientists estimate how much of a chemical people can consume daily over their lifetime without being harmed by it. This is known as the chemical’s tolerable daily intake (TDI). BPA has a temporary TDI set for it.

We currently consume less than the TDI for BPA from sources such as food containers.

Ongoing research into BPA

The National Toxicology Programme (NTP) in the United States of America is conducting a long-term study on BPA. It is looking at the effects of exposure to BPA in rats, before and after giving birth. This study will tell us more about whether BPA exposure could increase the risk of cancer in humans.