Bisphenol A Controversy: What Is It? How Is It Used?

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Bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used in consumer goods, was the subject of a federal safety hearing Tuesday where new preliminary research suggested it might be linked to a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Click here to read more on the hearing and new research.

BPA is used in lightweight, durable plastics. Products include some baby bottles, sippy cups and reusable food and drink containers, such as reusable sports water bottles and Tupperware, compact discs, DVDs, eyeglass lenses and sports safety goggles and helmets.

Most recyclable, single-use plastic bottles, such as those made for soft drinks and bottled water, don't contain BPA.

Some manufacturers are phasing out BPA in some products and Tupperware's Web site says it does not use BPA in children's products sold in the United States and Canada.

BPA is also in epoxy resins used to make paints, adhesives and canned food liners.

Animal studies have linked BPA with breast, prostate and reproductive system abnormalities and some cancers, but experts disagree on whether it poses health risks for humans.

Government toxicology scientists say that to reduce exposure, people can avoid non-recyclable plastic containers that have the number 7 on the bottom; avoid using these plastics in the microwave, and don't wash them in the dishwasher with harsh detergents.

On the Web:

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

American Chemistry Council