Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the highest volume chemicals produced worldwide. This compound is a building block of polycarbonate plastics often used for food and beverage storage, and BPA is also a component of epoxy resins that are used to line food and beverage containers. Studies have shown that BPA can leach from these and other products in contact with food and drink, and as a result, routine ingestion of BPA is presumed. This compound is also found in an enormous number of other products that we come into contact with daily, and therefore it is not surprising that it has been detected in the majority of individuals examined. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor. Although initially considered to be a weak environmental estrogen, more recent studies have demonstrated that BPA may be similar in potency to estradiol in stimulating some cellular responses. Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that BPA may influence multiple endocrine-related pathways. Studies in rodents have identified adverse effects of BPA at levels at or below the current acceptable daily intake level for this compound. The various reported adverse effects of BPA are reviewed, and potential mechanisms of BPA action are discussed. Much more investigation is needed to understand the potential adverse health effects of BPA exposure in humans and to understand the multiple pathways through which it may act. Although many questions remain to be answered, it is becoming increasingly apparent that exposure to BPA is ubiquitous and that the effects of this endocrine disruptor are complex and wide-ranging.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.