HPLC separation and detection of bisphenol a (BPA) in plastics

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Courtesy of PerkinElmer, Inc.

The BPA or bisphenol A (Figure 1) has become well know over the past year as concerns for its effect on human health and well being have been raised. The concerns over BPA began with baby bottles and spread to include other types of bottles.

BPA is used in the production of two very common polymers PVC and Polycarbonate. PVC, Polyvinyl chloride, is used in many different products including building materials, medical devices and children’s toys. BPA is used in PVC production as a polymerization inhibitor, residual BPA may remain after the polymerization is complete. Polycarbonate is another very commonly used plastic. It has very desirable properties for both optical clarity and heat resistance. BPA is an important monomer in the production of polycarbonate polymer, not all of the BPA is consumed in the production and may leach out of the polymer. Recently, many applications of polycarbonate have been replaced with new copolymers, such as co-polyester, to eliminate BPA.

As a result of the health concerns over human exposure to BPA this molecule is now monitored in specific products, including baby bottles and other children’s products. Simple and robust test methods are needed to determine the presence and amount of BPA in plastic materials. This paper will present the extraction and HPLC analysis of children’s products for BPA.

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