Widespread Occurrence of Bisphenol A in Paper and Paper Products: Implications for Human Exposure

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, New York 12201-0509, United States.
Environmental Science & Technology (Impact Factor: 5.48). 09/2011; 45(21):9372-9. DOI: 10.1021/es202507f
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in a variety of consumer products, including some paper products, particularly thermal receipt papers, for which it is used as a color developer. Nevertheless, little is known about the magnitude of BPA contamination or human exposure to BPA as a result of contact with paper and paper products. In this study, concentrations of BPA were determined in 15 types of paper products (n = 202), including thermal receipts, flyers, magazines, tickets, mailing envelopes, newspapers, food contact papers, food cartons, airplane boarding passes, luggage tags, printing papers, business cards, napkins, paper towels, and toilet paper, collected from several cities in the USA. Thermal receipt papers also were collected from Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. BPA was found in 94% of thermal receipt papers (n = 103) at concentrations ranging from below the limit of quantitation (LOQ, 1 ng/g) to 13.9 mg/g (geometric mean: 0.211 mg/g). The majority (81%) of other paper products (n = 99) contained BPA at concentrations ranging from below the LOQ to 14.4 μg/g (geometric mean: 0.016 μg/g). Whereas thermal receipt papers contained the highest concentrations of BPA (milligram-per-gram), some paper products, including napkins and toilet paper, made from recycled papers contained microgram-per-gram concentrations of BPA. Contamination during the paper recycling process is a source of BPA in paper products. Daily intake (DI) of BPA through dermal absorption was estimated based on the measured BPA concentrations and handling frequency of paper products. The daily intake of BPA (calculated from median concentrations) through dermal absorption from handling of papers was 17.5 and 1300 ng/day for the general population and occupationally exposed individuals, respectively; these values are minor compared with exposure through diet. Among paper products, thermal receipt papers contributed to the majority (>98%) of the exposures.

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