The Environmental Effects of BPA

Over the past decade, researchers from around the world have been studying BPA and its effect on the environment and living organisms. Since BPA has been used since the 1960s, and only within the past decade been deemed toxic, governments around the world have begun to ban BPA and are working on removing the decades of past leeching into our water sources. This is no easy task, however for the individual it is important to understand the environmental and personal effects of BPA to avoid exposure.

How does BPA get into our environment?

Common routes of introduction from the pre-consumer perspective into the environment are directly from chemical plastics, coat and staining manufacturers, foundries who use BPA in casting sand, or transport of BPA and BPA-containing products.  Post-consumer BPA waste comes from effluent discharge from municipal wastewater treatment plants, irrigation pipes used in agriculture, ocean-borne plastic trash, indirect leaching from plastic, paper, and metal waste in landfills, and paper or material recycling companies.

BPA exposure on living organisms

A 2009 review of the biological impacts of plasticizers (BPA) on wildlife published by the Royal Society with a focus on aquatic and terrestrial annelids, molluscs, crustaceans, insects, fish and amphibians concluded that BPA affects reproduction in all studied animal groups, impairs development in crustaceans and amphibians and induces genetic aberrations. Among freshwater organisms, fish appear to be the most sensitive species. Evidence of endocrine-related effects in fish, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles has been reported.

A 2013 study also observed changes in plant health due to BPA exposure. The study exposed soybean seedlings to various concentrations of BPA and saw changes in root growth, nitrate production, ammonium production, and changes in the activities of nitrate reductase and nitrite reductase.

BPA exposure on humans

BPA has been proven to affect the endocrine system of living organisms, leading to a host of health concerns. The largest exposure humans have to BPA is by mouth from such sources as food packaging, the epoxy lining of metal food and beverage cans, plastic bottles and thermal receipts.

Most people are not aware that the color developer in carbonless papers and thermal receipt paper (e.g. Moneris receipts) contain BPA. When handled, BPA in thermal paper can be transferred to skin, and there is some concern that residues on hands could be ingested through incidental hand-to-mouth contact. Furthermore, some studies suggest that dermal absorption may contribute some small fraction to the overall human exposure. This means that every receipt you receive from using your debit or credit card exposes you to BPA contamination. It is imperative that anyone handling these receipts, whether they are employees or shoppers, wash their hands thoroughly after exposure to ensure health safety.

The more information we have about BPA and its effects on our environment, the better choices we can make to avoid its harmful reach.

When choosing a water delivery company always ensure they use BPA free bottles