U.S. workers in industries that use or manufacture BPA have, on average, 70 times more of the chemical in their bodies than the general public—levels well above what has been shown to impact reproduction, according to a study published Wednesday.
Some workers’ contamination was more than a 1,000 times higher than the most exposed U.S. adults in the general population.
Bisphenol A (BPA) toxicity and exposure risk to humans has been the subject of considerable scientific debate; however, published occupational exposure data for BPA are limited.
Urinary Bisphenol A (BPA) Concentrations among Workers in Industries that Manufacture and Use BPA in the USA, The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxw021, 01 January 2017.
US workers making BPA have enormous loads of it in them, Environmental Health News, January 4, 2017.
In 2013–2014, 77 workers at six US companies making BPA, BPA-based resins, or BPA-filled wax provided seven urine samples over two consecutive work days (151 worker-days, 525 samples). Participant information included industry, job, tasks, personal protective equipment used, hygiene behaviors, and canned food/beverage consumption. Total (free plus conjugated) BPA, quantified in urine by mass spectrometry, was detected in all samples.
The geometric mean (GM) creatinine-adjusted total BPA (total BPACR) concentration was 88.0 µg g−1 (range 0.78–18900 µg g−1), ~70 times higher than in US adults in 2013–2014 (1.27 µg g−1). GM total BPACR increased during Day 1 (26.6–127 µg g−1), decreased by pre-shift Day 2 (84.4 µg g−1) then increased during Day 2 to 178 µg g−1. By industry, baseline and post-baseline total BPACR was highest in BPA-filled wax manufacturing/reclaim (GM = 111 µg g−1) and lowest in phenolic resin manufacturing (GM = 6.56 µg g−1). By job, total BPACR was highest at baseline in maintenance workers (GM = 157 µg g−1) and post-baseline in those working with molten BPA-filled wax (GM = 441 µg g−1). Workers in the job of flaking a BPA-based resin had the lowest concentrations at baseline (GM = 4.81 µg g−1) and post-baseline (GM = 23.2 µg g−1). In multiple regression models, at baseline, industry significantly predicted increased total BPACR (P = 0.0248); post-baseline, handling BPA containers (P = 0.0035), taking ≥3 process/bulk samples with BPA (P = 0.0002) and wearing a Tyvek® coverall (P = 0.0042) significantly predicted increased total BPACR (after adjusting for total BPACR at baseline, time point, and body mass index).
Several work-related factors, including industry, job, and certain tasks performed, were associated with increased urinary total BPACR concentrations in this group of manufacturing workers. The potential for BPA-related health effects among these workers is unknown.