The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a number of actions to address the potential effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer and industrial products. The BPA action plan released today focuses on the environmental impacts of BPA and will look to add BPA to EPA鈥檚 list of chemicals of concern and require testing related to environmental effects. These actions are part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson鈥檚 comprehensive effort to strengthen the agency鈥檚 chemical management program.


Food packaging represents the most obvious source of BPA exposure to people and is regulated by FDA. Unlike FDA, EPA has authority over the potential environmental impacts of BPA.  Releases of BPA to the environment exceed 1 million pounds per year. The EPA press release notes, BPA has caused reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies and may also affect the endocrine system.


The EPA action plan on the environmental impacts of BPA includes:


         Adding BPA to the chemical concern list on the basis of potential environmental effects.

         Requiring information on concentrations of BPA in surface water, ground water, and drinking water to determine if BPA may be present at levels of potential concern.

         Requiring manufacturers to provide test data to assist the agency in evaluating its possible impacts, including long-term effects on growth, reproduction, and development in aquatic organisms and wildlife.

         Using EPA鈥檚 Design for the Environment (DfE) program to look for ways to reduce unnecessary exposures, including assessing substitutes, while additional studies continue.

         And, continuing to evaluate the potential disproportionate impact on children and other sub-populations through exposure from non-food packaging uses.    


EPA is working closely with FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on research to better assess and evaluate the potential health consequences of BPA exposures, including health concerns from non-food packaging exposures that fall outside of the FDA鈥檚 reach but within EPA鈥檚 regulatory authority.  Based on what this new research shows, EPA will consider possible regulatory actions to address health impacts from these other exposures.  


In December, EPA announced that it will, for the first time, use its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to list chemicals that may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. The decision to list chemicals signals EPA鈥檚 concern about the risks that the listed chemicals may pose and the agency鈥檚 intention to address those risks.


More information on EPA鈥檚 BPA action plan: