CHICAGO (March 8, 2007) — Bisphenol A (BPA) is widely used in the manufacture of some types of plastics, primarily for consumer products. Concerns have been raised about the safety of such widespread use of BPA in consumer products, because laboratory testing has suggested that it may affect reproduction and development by mimicking the effects of the female hormone estrogen. To date, these effects observed in laboratory animals have not been observed in humans.
Humans are exposed to BPA through its use by the food industry in the manufacture of epoxy resins that coat cans and polycarbonate bottles that hold foods and beverages. It is also used in the manufacture of some children’s toys, plastic tableware and infant bottles. BPA is also released to the environment in industrial and household wastes. Although BPA is not an ingredient in either dental product, there is some evidence that some dental sealants and to a lesser extent composites may contribute to low-level BPA exposure, probably through the action of salivary enzymes on a minor ingredient.
The ADA sees no cause for concern at this time regarding potential BPA exposure from composites or sealants. The presence of a substance in the environment or in human blood or urine samples does not mean that that substance is necessarily causing harm. Whether or not a substance is harmful to human health depends upon how much of the substance we are exposed to. Virtually any substance can have a harmful effect at high doses – even water and vitamins.
Nevertheless, the ADA supports additional research into how much BPA people are actually exposed to and at what levels of exposure health effects start to occur.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has commissioned a report on the chemistry of BPA, its intended uses and sources of human exposure. Additionally, the agency has convened an independent panel to review the results of the report. These are important steps toward identifying the potential for any health and/or environmental concerns.
As the professional association of dentists committed to the public's oral health, the ADA is greatly interested in the results of the report. The ADA looks to the HHS to provide scientific guidance on issues that affect the health of Americans.