Household Chemicals: Bisphenol A (BPA)

Found in a variety of plasticware, Bisphenol A can cause cancers, diabetes, asthma and possibly autism. Use this guide to limit your exposure.

Some states have already taken measures against this harmful chemical, but you can do your part too:

Found in: Canned foods and drinks, plasticware and baby bottles

What it is: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make hard plastics for some baby bottles, water bottles and microwavable containers. It’s also placed in can linings to help foods and beverages stay fresh longer.

Health concerns: A number of studies have linked BPA to reproductive abnormalities, breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and learning and behavioral disorders in children. Some scientists say they also suspect a link to autism. The research has been inconclusive, and the government plans to conduct more studies during the next 9 to 15 months. Last year Connecticut passed legislation that will ban BPA in reusable containers as well as plastic containers, jars and cans used for food or drink for children. Minnesota has done the same for bottles and cups used by children younger than 3. Bills are pending in at least nine other states.

Stay safe: Avoid plastic containers that have the number 7 in a triangle on the bottom. Don’t microwave plastic containers or pour hot food or liquids into them, particularly when they’re heated or scratched. BPA can leach into your food. Minimize your consumption of foods and drinks that come in cans not labeled BPA-free.