Bisphenol A: Understanding the Controversy

Workplace Health Saf. 2016 Jan;64(1):28-36; quiz 37. doi: 10.1177/2165079915623790.


Healthy People 2020 lists Bisphenol A (BPA) as a potential endocrine disruptor for which exposure should be reduced. The Healthy People 2020 Environmental Health Objectives focus on addressing environmental factors that negatively affect individuals' health even though the health effects of some toxic substances are not yet fully understood. An American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) position statement outlined the role occupational health nurses play in creating healthy and productive workplaces by promoting worker health. BPA is implicated in a variety of health outcomes such as breast and prostate cancer, menstrual irregularities, genital abnormalities in male babies, infertility in men and women, early puberty in girls, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. The overall health issues attributed to BPA exposure are complex and controversial. Concerns regarding environmental health are growing as individuals become more dependent on plastics. Numerous health concerns have been directly connected to daily exposures to products manufactured with BPA. Government agencies support the use of BPA as a safe consumer product with the exception of BPA use in baby bottles and sippy cups, which has been banned in the United States and several other countries. Many agencies (e.g., Federal Drug Administration [FDA], World Health Organization [WHO], U.S. Department of Health & Human Services [U.S. DHHS], and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]) have expressed "some concern" about BPA based on research, and stated further research is warranted.

Keywords: chronic illnesses; disease prevention; health promotion; occupational hazards; research.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / pharmacology*
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endocrine Disruptors / pharmacology*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Healthy People Programs
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A