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Waste 2 Resources Program

Bisphenol A

Starting July 1, 2012, sports bottles that contain Bisphenol A (BPA) cannot be manufactured, distributed, or sold in Washington State. Bottles, cups, and other containers for children three years of age or younger were banned in July 2011.

What is Bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic is used to make products such as compact disks, eyeglass lenses, water bottles, and baby bottles. Many food and drink cans are lined with epoxy resins that contain BPA. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers BPA a high production volume chemical, with 2.4 billion pounds of BPA produced in 2007.

Is BPA harmful?

A number of national and international scientific organizations have expressed concerns that BPA can interfere with the body's hormone systems. The National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, have expressed "some concern" for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current levels of exposure to BPA.

BPA is banned in certain products in Washington State

In 2010, Washington passed a law (RCW 70.280) banning the sale of certain products containing BPA. Ecology will enforce this provision consistent with its guidance on Practical Quantification Limits (PQLs) under the Children's Safe Product Act.

What products are affected?
  • Bottles, cups, and containers that are designed to be filled with liquid, food, or beverages and used by children under age three (beginning July 1, 2011).
  • Any sports bottle up to 64 ounces (beginning July 1, 2012).
Metal cans (less than 0.0149 inches thick) that contain BPA that are designed to hold or pack food are not banned.

Who needs to comply?
Manufacturers may not manufacture these BPA-containing products in Washington. Wholesalers and distributors may not distribute these products for sale or use in the state. Retailers may not sell these products in the state.

How can I reduce my exposure to BPA?

The Washington State Department of Health has helpful information on how to:
  • Identify products that may contain BPA.
  • Avoid exposure from using products that may contain BPA.
The Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit at the University of Washington has produced factsheets on BPA and phthalates in plastic products for consumers and for health professionals.

Contact

If you have questions or if you believe a banned product is available for sale in Washington, contact Joshua Grice (joshua.grice@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6786).