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Resource Center » Promotional Products That Contain BPA - What You Should Know

BPA is a part of many plastics and may be in some plastic promotional products.

BPA is bisphenol A (the A stands for acetone) and is part of many plastics, including some plastic promotional items. Some scientists believe that it could be linked to diabetes, cancer, obesity, and that it could affect hormones. However, the FDA (the United States Food and Drug Administration) maintains that the American public is not exposed to high enough levels of BPA to pose a health risk.

The United States, Canada, and the European Union have done studies to determine if the public’s health is endangered by the plastics that have BPA; those studies have yielded mixed results. Canada has taken the strongest stand by pulling some products containing BPA off the shelves. The European Union studies concluded that the levels of BPA are not high enough to affect public heath. The Food and Drug Administration in the United States has agreed that public health is not endangered by BPA. The FDA makes no other recommendation than suggesting that there are alternatives to using baby bottles made with BPA.
BPA is often used in hard clear plastics such as personalized water bottles and baby bottles. It is also part of resins used to line food cans to prevent the food from spoiling. BPA may be found in some promotional products like water bottles and sport bottles.  If a water bottle contains BPA, it should not be washed in a dishwasher or with harsh detergents. It also should never be used in a microwave oven.

BPA is usually found in plastics that are type 3 (PVC) or type 7. These types of plastics are most likely to allow BPA from the plastic to transfer to the food or liquid it contains.  When plastics with BPA are well-worn or used for a long time, they are more likely to allow the BPA to be transferred to their contents. Also, being washed in hot water such as in a dishwasher, being washed with harsh detergents, or being used in a microwave oven can make this transfer more likely.

Most plastics in the United States have little triangles with a number in the middle on the bottom of the product. The number represents the type of plastic. This triangle with the number will be located on the bottom of any plastic promotional product.  If this number is 3 or 7, then it is type 3 or type 7 plastic. Type 3 is PVC and usually contains BPA. Type 7 is a miscellaneous category of plastics. Plastics that do not fit clearly into another category is categorized type 7.  Type 7 plastics may or may not be made with BPA. A type 7 plastic may indicate it is BPA free by the label on the package.

Plastics that do not use BPA are types 1(PET), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE), 5 (polypropylene), and 6 (polystyrene). Although they do not contain BPA, they have not been as thoroughly tested for chemicals that transfer to the food or liquids as plastics with BPA.

With proper care, plastic promotional items containing BPA can be used. Use your discretion!

Article By Jill Tooley
Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. In addition to managing the QLP blog, Jill also manages the content development team, assists with the company’s social media accounts, and writes like a fiend whenever given the chance. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

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