Technical Spotlight – Bisphenol-A (BPA) Material Testing

November 23, 2015

What is BPA?

BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastics, including baby bottles, sports bottles, reusable food and drink containers, bicycle helmets, CDs and DVDs. It is also an ingredient in the epoxy resins used to line metal cans.

A number of laboratory studies have linked BPA — a synthetic estrogen — to birth defects, low birth weight, cancer, early puberty and other health problems in rats. However, 11 safety agencies around the world have said that BPA is safe for use in food-contact applications.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began a series of actions to address the potential effects of BPA and issued an action plan that concentrates on the chemical’s environmental effects. The EPA said it would look to add BPA to its list of chemicals of concern which would mandate environmental testing for BPA.

The Food and Drug Administration also reversed its long-held stance that BPA is safe for food contact applications. Regulators said they were particularly concerned about BPA’s effect on the development of fetuses, infants and young children. But the FDA did not ban BPA or require manufacturers to label products that contain BPA, saying that there is not enough information for such a requirement.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has filed a law suit against the FDA for its “failure to act on a petition to ban the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging, food containers, and other materials likely to come into contact with food.”

Who needs to test?

Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers

Who is mandating testing?

Individual governments – bans and proposed laws

  • Canada – Hazardous Products Act Part 1 of Schedule I amendment banning polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA effective March 2010.
  • Denmark – Government has instituted a temporary ban beginning July 1, 2010, on feeding bottles, cups, and materials in contact with food aimed at children aged 0-3 years. It also covers those materials in the Danish order on breast milk substitutes and mixed substitutes for babies and young children and the order on manufactured food for young children and babies. The ban will be effective until new studies document that low doses of BPA do not have an impact on development of the nervous system or on the behavior of rats.
  • France – Ban on manufacturing, importing, exporting and selling baby bottles made of BPA-based products.
  • California – State Assembly and Senate passed a bill banning BPA in containers for children 3 years of age and younger. Awaiting approval from the governor.
  • Connecticut – Anti-BPA legislation that becomes fully effective in 2011. Prohibits use of BPA in all infant formula containers or baby food jars and all reusable food and beverage containers. Applies to manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors. Sell or distribute existing inventory of infant formula or baby food containers, jars or cans as of October 1, 2011.
  • Maryland – Banned in containers for food or liquid intended for children less than 4 years of age effective January 2012.
  • Minnesota – Anti-BPA legislation becomes fully effective in 2011. Bans use in beverage containers intended for use by children 3 years of age or younger. Applies to manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.
  • Vermont – Ban also on sports bottles and thermoses with extension to metal cans starting July 2014.
  • Washington – House Bill 1180 passed by a vote of 95-1 that would ban the manufacture and sale of BPA in sports water bottles by July 2012
  • Wisconsin – Ban on use in baby bottles and spill-proof cups for children up to 3 years of age. Additional stipulation that these BPA-free containers must be clearly labeled as such.
  • New York – Proposed ban on use in child care articles such as sippy cups, pacifiers, teething products and baby bottles. Governor has not signed the bill into law.
  • City of Chicago, Illinois – Banned in containers for food or liquid intended for children less than 3 years of age.


For more information about NTS Chemical testing of your products, please contact us at (800) 270-2516, or email us at

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