In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical that is added to plastics that are used to make thousands of common consumer products—from baby bottles to the lining of many food and beverage cans. That means the FDA is in charge of deciding how BPA can be used, who can use it, and how much BPA you and I can touch or swallow without risking our health.
That last part is the real issue, because many research studies have linked BPA exposure at different levels to a number of serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, liver abnormalities and sexual dysfunction in adults to developmental problems in the brains and hormonal systems of children.
Although the FDA is the official regulating agency for BPA, many other government entities have taken an interest in BPA because of the potential public health risks posed by BPA exposure. Organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Toxicology Program, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all conducted studies on BPA and continue to keep a close eye on both the growing body of medical research and the increasing political controversy surrounding the chemical.
For 2010 and 2011, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences committed $30 million to BPA-related research, to study the chemical's effects on all stages of human development.