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Contamination Dangers of Bisphenol-A (BPA) for Health

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Have you ever seen a plastic food or drink container with a BPA free label? Why should you choose a container for eating or drinking with this label?

Currently, plastic has become an inherent material used as a container for eating or drinking. Many children and adults store food and drinks in plastic containers and often these containers are filled with hot food or drinks. One of the plastic materials commonly used as containers is polycarbonate plastic ( polycarbonate / PC).

Plastic from PC material can be found in various food containers such as plates, drinking water bottles, and cuttleries . Usually plastic furniture made from PC material is labeled with a triangle with the number 7 which signifies the recycling symbol. The main ingredient for making PC plastic is bisphenol-A (BPA). Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in the coating of some food and beverage packaging to protect food from contamination and extend shelf life. BPA is also used in non-food products for the purpose of avoiding corrosives.

On the other hand, BPA has detrimental properties for health. Small amounts of BPA can migrate to food and beverages from containers made of BPA. This is reinforced by several studies that the content of BPA in a certain amount can endanger health if it contaminates the food and beverages consumed. Exposure to BPA is of concern because of the possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.

BPA in PC plastic has detrimental properties when migration occurs from packaging into food. When consumed in high amounts, BPA can cause a ” mimic ” effect (similar to) the body’s estrogen so that it interferes with hormone function and can damage chromosomes in the ovaries and human sperm levels. Another adverse effect is that BPA as an endocrine disruptor compound can interfere with biosynthesis and secretion in the body (Indraswati 2017). Therefore, although it is widely used for household materials, the use of PC in food packaging, especially in baby milk bottles and drinking water, has been avoided due to health reasons.

BPOM has stipulated Regulation Number 20 of 2019 concerning Food Packaging. This regulation regulates food packaging safety requirements including the maximum BPA migration limit of 0.6 ppm maximum from polycarbonate (PC) packaging for tableware and drink bottles and 0.3 ppm for baby milk bottles (BPOM RI 2012). In addition, EFSA explains that the Tolerance Daily Intake (TDI) of BPA is 0.05 g/kgBB in one day (Lubis et al 2021).

Based on ongoing safety reviews, many industries manufacturing plastic food and beverage containers have now added BPA free packaging information. Another alternative is to choose a non-PC plastic material.

This is done to support the safety of BPA in the currently approved use in food containers and packaging. BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. However, if you are concerned about BPA, you can take steps to reduce your exposure:

1) use products with BPA -free or BPA free labels ;

2) avoid storing or heating food in plastic containers as heat can increase the migration of BPA into food;

3) use alternative containers such as glass, porcelain, or stainless steel for hot food and liquids instead of plastic containers;

4) wash the container before use;

5) choose baby bottles with BPA free labels ;

6) reduce the use of canned foods containing BPA; and

7) Stop using plastic containers that have been scratched or damaged.

After understanding the safety and risks of containers in food and beverages, consumers can be wiser and aware in choosing packaging containers that are safe for health.

*The author is a Masters Student of Food Science IPB University

lists are Library

  • BPOM RI. 2012. Guidelines for Minimizing the Formation of Chemical Contamination in Fast Food and Home Industry Foods as Snacks for School Children. ISBN 978-602-3665-12-9.23
  • Indraswati D. 2017. Food Packaging. Health Scientific Forum (FORIKES). 27-30
  • Lubis N, Soni D, and Fuadi MDS. 2021. Effect of Drinking Water Storage Temperature on Polycarbonate (Pc) Packaging Bottles Circulating in Garut Area on Bisphenol-A (Bpa) Levels Using Ultraviolet Spectrophotometry. Journal of Chemistry (JOURNAL OF CHEMISRTY ) Vol:15(2). pp. 223-230. DOI : https://doi.org/10.24843/JCHEM.2021.v15.i02.p1

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