DVDs, cars and solar modules – just a few examples of the many things containing the high-performance plastic polycarbonate that make our lives safer, more pleasant and more environmentally friendly. The basis for polycarbonate is a chemical with a proven safety record: Bisphenol A (BPA), which is firmly anchored in the material’s structure.
Without BPA, polycarbonate would not be the versatile material it is – an important tool for lightweight mobility, sustainable building and other major challenges facing us this century.
Polycarbonate and BPA as its component have been used safely for more than 50 years. BPA is one of the most thoroughly examined chemicals. It has been subjected to intensive studies and thorough safety assessments by government agencies around the world, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In January 2015, EFSA published a comprehensive re-evaluation of BPA, stating that “BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels.” (European Food Safety Authority)
In addition, the FDA in the USA is unequivocal in its conclusion on the safety of BPA, stating “Is BPA safe? Yes. Based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.” (United States Food and Drug Administration)
As with other materials, there is some potential for extremely small amounts of BPA to migrate from the material to its surrounding, for example from packaging to food. But if this were to happen, numerous studies show that the quantities are far below any safety-based limits set by relevant government bodies. The low – thus safe – consumer exposure has been reconfirmed just recently by the EFSA. For the first time, this scientific expert panel which performs thorough risk assessments for food-related topics even reviewed non-dietary exposure of consumers in addition to dietary exposure and concluded that the aggregated exposure is also below the newly set safety limit (the TDI, or Tolerable Daily Intake) of 4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day.
To put the safety limit in perspective: A person weighing 60 kilograms would have to drink at least 300 liters of water stored in polycarbonate water containers each day for their whole life before reaching the safe limit established by the European Food Safety Authority.
For more facts on Bisphenol A at Covestro click here. Comprehensive information on risks and uses from the respective industry groups on BPA can also be found here for Europe and here for the US.