Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, has been around since the 1960s. It's a chemical compound that has been used as a component in several different types of plastic, all of which are lightweight, shatter-resistant, and able to withstand high temperatures. BPA is present in a number of plastic items ... including some promotional products.
You might have heard about the controversy surrounding BPA in recent years. Below is a short guide to address any concerns you might have about BPA and help you choose the right promotional products.
What Products Contain BPA?
BPA is used mostly to manufacture hard, clear plastics. This means you're most likely to find BPA in water bottles and sports bottles on the Quality Logo Products website. Other products that might contain BPA include: food containers, baby bottles, thermal receipt paper, and canned food (it's in the lining on the inside of the can).
Why Are People Worried About BPA?
In the past, laboratory studies involving rats have shown that BPA works as an endocrine disruptor. This means BPA had an effect on hormones in the rats' bodies, which led researchers to express concern that it could also affect hormones in people ... namely, in small, developing children.
So Why is BPA Still Out There?
In its mission to make sure people aren't eating and drinking harmful substances, the Food and Drug Administration has declared BPA safe for use in food and drink containers. The FDA's research is ongoing, but it currently maintains that the low levels of BPA people are exposed to through their containers aren't enough to cause harm. However, since 2012, the FDA has recommended that baby bottles and toddlers' sippy cups not be made with plastic that contains BPA, since infants and children are more sensitive to the effects of chemicals.
How Do I Know if My Promotional Product Contains BPA?
You can use the same numbers on plastic items that you use to sort your items for recycling to determine whether or not your bottle contains BPA.
The categories of plastic most likely to contain BPA are type 3 and type 7. Type 3 plastic is polyvinyl chloride, which is generally called PVC. PVC is the basis for some plastic items used in food storage, most notably certain brands of plastic cling wrap.
Type 7 plastic is essentially the "other" category for plastics that don't fit into any other group. Many items made with type 7 plastic are polycarbonate, a compound that's derived from BPA. However, not every type 7 plastic contains BPA. Tritan, for example, is a type 7 plastic advertised as a BPA-free alternative that still provides polycarbonate's durability.
The following types of plastic do not contain BPA and are considered safer for use as food containers:
PETE—often found in soda and water bottles; note: although PETE does not contain BPA, researchers continue to study whether it contains other kinds of chemicals. Currently, it is considered safe for consumer use.
HDPE—often found in milk gallon jugs and containers for dish detergent
LDPE—often found in grocery bags and sandwich bags
PP—often found in Tupperware, margarine tubs, and disposable yogurt containers
But what about type 6?
You might have noticed that type 6 plastic hasn't been mentioned. Type 6 plastic is polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam. Polystyrene doesn't contain BPA, but it has been at the center of its own controversies.
Why Are People Worried About BPA?
If you have a plastic water bottle made with BPA, you can reduce the likelihood of BPA leaching into the water by handwashing the bottle and never using it in a microwave. Exposing the plastic to the hot temperatures used in dishwashers, scrubbing it with harsh dishwasher detergents, or exposing it to microwave radiation can make the transfer of BPA into the water more likely.
The older a plastic item is, the more likely it is to release BPA into the food or drink it's storing, so consider replacing your bottles every few years.
Finally, if BPA remains a concern, choose a container made of another material. Stainless steel water bottles, for example, are stylish, durable, and very popular. They're also BPA-free, which means you can promote your business feeling completely confident. No matter what material you choose, we have products that are right for your customers.