Food Safety and Technology
Published by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in coopera-
tion with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Andrew G. Hashimoto, Director/Dean, Cooperative Extension Service/CTAHR, University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822.
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ability, marital status, arrest and court record, sexual orientation, or status as a covered veteran. CTAHR publications can be found on the Web site <http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/freepubs>.
Bisphenol A, also called BPA, is an organic compound
that is a key monomer used in the production of the
polycarbonate plastic or epoxy resins used in some food
packaging materials. Polycarbonate plastic and epoxy
resins are also used in products such as cell phones,
computers, household appliances, bicycle helmets, and
flooring. BPA is receiving increased scrutiny because of
studies that reported its role in causing cancer, tumors,
and developmental and hormonal changes in humans.
BPA prevents corrosion in cans, and when used in epoxy
coatings, it prevents the contamination of the food in the
can. BPA increases the heat resistance and durability of
bottles. Products using BPA include reusable plastic food
and beverage containers, baby bottles, tableware, micro-
wave oven ware, and linings for cans used for food. It has
been used in consumer products for over 40 years.
Types of plastics
There are seven types of plastics used in packaging. In
1988, the Society of Plastics Industries, Inc. (SPI) intro-
duced a voluntary coding system, called the SPI Resin
Identification Codes, to identify the type of plastic used
to make the container. These are the numbers found, for
example, on the bottom of plastic bottles. Numbers 1–