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Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make polycarbonate and PVC plastics, epoxy resins, as a dye developer in thermal paper like receipts.
Polycarbonates are used to make plastic dinnerware, microwave ovenware, eyeglass lenses, toys, pacifiers. Epoxy resins are used to line canned food and beverage containers.
BPA free means the cans and plastic containers were made without the chemical BPA. Instead BPA was substituted with chemicals like BPF, BPS, BPAP, BPB, BPE, BPP and PVC.
However, removing BPA does not make a plastic container or can less toxic.
Because, when you remove this toxic chemicals it's easiest and cheapest to put something similar back in. For example, other types of bisphenols- like BPF and BPS, which tests have found have the same ability to leach endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Studies on these BPA Free substitutes have found that almost all commercially available plastic products tested leached estrogen-like chemicals. In some cases, these products were worse than products with BPA.
A 2016 study on BPA free cans reported that the cans were lined with either acrylic resins, oleoresin, polyester resins, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Are these non-BPA linings any safer. Who knows. But they don't sound safer.
For example, acrylic resins can be made from styrene, ethyl acrylate and other acrylates, which are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, and respiratory toxicity. And PVC-based coatings are made from vinyl acetate or vinyl chloride, which are carcinogens.
And a 2017 review of the research found that all the BPA substitutes tested were endocrine disrupting chemicals.