Chemicals

Bisphenol A (BPA): Separating Hype from Reality


Yesterday we looked at the debate swirling around the possible dangers of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the production of food containers, water and baby bottles, and countless other consumer and industrial products. Today we’ll look at BPA in the workplace and at an upcoming audio conference on steps you can take right now to protect your workers and your business.


The controversy surrounding safety concerns over BPA has never been hotter. Plastics manufacturers continue to defend the safety of the chemical used in the mass production of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins since the 1950s.


But a number of studies conducted on laboratory animals in recent years have raised the specter that BPA exposure could cause adverse health effects in humans, including a higher incidence of prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity, and reproductive problems.




Learn what you need to know about bisphenol A (BPA) and your workplace. Join us at BLR’s special November 10 audio conference on the subject. Can’t attend? Preorder the CD. Read more.


To recap the most recent developments:



  • In August 2008, a draft assessment released by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that exposure to the small amounts of BPA that migrate from containers into the food they hold are not dangerous to infants or adults. The report was welcomed by the chemical industry, which said the findings were consistent with many earlier studies showing BPA is not a risk to human health at the low levels to which people might be exposed.

  • In early September 2008, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an offshoot of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), released a report stating that current human exposure to BPA “is of ‘some concern’ for effects on development of the prostate gland and brain and for behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children.”

  • In mid-September 2008, a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) linking higher urinary concentrations of BPA to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities in humans. That study’s findings were attacked by the American Chemistry Council, which said the study had inherent limitations that made it incapable of establishing a cause and effect relationship between BPA and the cited health effects.

So, what does all this mean for you and your workplace? To start with, remember that BPA exposure isn’t limited to eating or drinking canned or bottled food and beverages. According to the JAMA study, “exposure is most likely through continuous, multiroute exposure, principally diet, but also through transdermal exposure and inhalation of airborne dust.”


And, according to the NTP report, “a number of studies, when considered together, suggest a possible effect on reproductive hormones, especially in men exposed to higher levels of bisphenol A in the workplace.”


The International Occupational Safety and Health Information Center lists the following chart of possible BPA exposures, hazards, prevention, and first aid:


Exposure: Inhalation
Hazard: Cough. Sore throat
Prevention: Local exhaust
First Aid: Fresh air. Rest. Refer for medical attention


Exposure: Skin
Hazard: Redness
Prevention: Protective gloves. Protective clothing
First Aid: Remove protective clothing. Rinse with water or shower




Heard the hype about bisphenol A (BPA)? Wondering whether you should be doing anything to protect your workers? Find out at BLR’s November 10 audio conference. Can’t attend? Preorder the CD. Satisfaction assured.


Exposure: Eyes
Hazard: Redness. Pain
Prevention: Safety goggles or face shield
First Aid: Rinse with water (remove contact lenses, if possible), then take to a doctor


Exposure: Ingestion
Hazard: Nausea
Prevention: Do not eat, drink, or smoke during work. Wash hands before eating
First Aid: Rinse mouth. Drink plenty of water. Refer for medical attention


To get the latest news and workplace tips for dealing with BPA, join us on November 10 for a special 90-minute audio conference, Bisphenol A: New Health Risks Discovered; What the Findings Mean for Your Business.


Your speaker will be Marc Friedman, a principal consultant with Environmental and Occupational Risk Management Inc. (EORM®), a leading environmental, health, and safety (EHS) management and technical consulting firm in Woburn, Massachusetts. Friedman’s experience spans multiple market sectors, including life sciences, emerging technology, manufacturing, insurance, military, and energy. At EORM, he is responsible for expanding the company’s Boston operations as well as delivering EHS consulting services.


Among the topics Friedman will cover:



  • What the newest BPA research says and what it means for your business

  • Pending regulation that may affect industrial use of BPA

  • The health risks BPA can pose to your workers, including occupational dermatitis

  • What you should do now to protect both your workers and your business

  • The environmental hazards posed by leeching BPA and how to prevent them

  • How to separate the BPA hype from the reality

If you want to get up to speed on the latest news about BPA, as well as BPA workplace hazards and best practices, we recommend you attend. Or, if you can’t, we urge you preorder the conference CD. Either way, satisfaction is assured or you get a full refund.


For more information, click on any of the ordering links on this page.

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