Use of polycarbonate plastic products and human health


  • R. K. Srivastava Department of Pharmacology, Pt. B.D. Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Pt. B.D. Sharma University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
  • Sushila Godara Department of Pharmacology, Pt. B.D. Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Pt. B.D. Sharma University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India


Bisphenol A, Polycarbonates, Plastics, Hormone disruptors, Diabetes


As plastic and plastic products are being used in day to day at the cost of environment pollution, the human and wild life health and has become a global concern. Researchers found link between abnormal liver enzymes in the people and Bisphenol-A (BPA). Changes in insulin resistance, reproduction system, cardiovascular and brain function are also reported. BPA is used in the production of epoxy resins, polycarbonate resins, and polyester resins. BPA can leach out of certain plastic products including variety of modern goods, reusable food storage containers, eyeglass lenses, white dental fillings, sealants, medical equipments etc. In the body, BPA behaves as an estrogen receptor agonist and mimics estrogen hormone. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a widespread endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) used as the base compound in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics. Children and unborn and new born babies are at high risk of unwanted effects of BPA. Children suffer from chronic exposure to bisphenol A with manifestation of gastrointestinal problems, adrenal stress, immune dysfunction, toxic over load and neurological disorders. Some study in Japan has observed that more BPA can leach from polycarbonate products that have been scratched or is more than 4 years old or used bottles that have been subjected to bottle brushing or dishwashing and sterilization. People exposed to higher levels of BPA due to use of plastic food and beverages containers are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and metabolic disorder. Recent studies have suggested that BPA exposure may have a role in the development of weight gain, insulin resistance, pancreatic endocrine dysfunction, thyroid hormone disruption, and several other mechanisms involved in the development of diabetes. Urinary BPA levels are found to be associated with diabetes mellitus independent of traditional diabetes risk factors. There is a concern of exposure of BPA to pregnant women that can affect the development of offspring in the womb. It is considered that women may be placing their fetuses at the risk by having dental sealants applied during pregnancy. Public should be educated about the use of plastic and plastic products which can prove to be hazardous and risk factor to many health problems of human and wild life.


Lang IA, Galloway TS, Scarlett A, Henley WE, Depledge M, et al. Association of urinary bisphenol A concentration with medical disorders and laboratory abnormalities in adults. JAMA 2008;300:1303-10.

European Chemical News 1999. 18-24th October: p22.

Staples C. Bisphenol A: An environmental assessment. Bisphenol A Task group, SPI, Washington 1996.

Fieldiing M, Fawell JK, Franklin GS. Exposure to endocrine disruptors via materials in contact with drinking water. Report No. DETR/DWI 4746, 1999. WRC plc, Marlow, Bucks.

Soto AM, Sonnenschein C, Chung KL, Fernandez MF, Olea N, Serrano FO. The E-SCREEN assay as a tool to identify estrogens: an update on estrogenic environment pollutants. Environ Health Perspect 1996;103 Suppl 7:113-22.

Welshons WV, Nagel SC, Thayer Ka, Judy BM, Vom Saal FS. Low dose bioactivity of xenoestrogens in animals: fetal exposure to low doses of methoxychlor and other xenoestrogens increases adult prostate size in mice. Toxicol Ind Health 1999;15:12-25.

Pulgar R,Olea-Serrano F, Novillo-Fertrell A, Pazos P, Pedrazer V, Navajos JM, Olea N. Determination of BPA related aromatic compounds released from bis-GMA based composites and Sealants by high performance liquid chromatography. Environ Health Perspect 2000;108:21-7.

Laws SC, Carey SA, Ferrell JM Bodman GJ, Cooper RL. Estrogen activity of octyphenol, nonylphenol, bisphinol A and methoxychlor in rats. Toxicol Sci 2000;54:154-67.

Papaconstantinou AD, Umbereit TH, Fisher BR, Goering PL, Lappas NT, Brown KM. Bisphenol A-induced increase in uterine weight and alteration in uterine morphology in ovarectomized B6C3F1 mice: role of the estrogen receptor. Toxicol Sci 2000;56:332-9.

Takahashi O, Qishi S.Testicular toxicity of dietary 2, 2-bis (4-hydroxyphenyl) propane (Bisphenol) in F344 rats. Arch Toxicol 2001;75:42-51.

Kubo K, Arai O, Ogata R, Omura M, Hori T, Aou S. Exposure to bisphinol A during the fetal and suckiling periods disrupts sexual differentiation of the locus coeruleus and of behavior in the rat. Neurosci Lett 2001;304:73-6.

Tohel A, Suda S, Taya K, Hashimoto T, Kogo H. Bisphenol A inhibits testicular functions and increases luteinizing hormone secretion in adult male rats. Exp Biol Med 2001;226:216-21.

Tyl RW, Myers CB, Marr MC, Chang TY, Seely JC, Brine DR, et al. Three generation reproductive toxicity study of bisphinol A administered in the diet to CD (Sprague-Dawley) rats. Toxicol Sci 2002;68:121-46.

Braybrook J. Pers. Comm. from Julian Braybrook of the laboratory of the Government Chemicals. E-mail dated 24th January 2000.

Brotons J.A., Olea-Serrano MF, Villalobo M, Pedraza V, Olea N. Xenoestrogens released from lacquer coating in food cans. Environ Health Perspect 1995;103:608-12.

Howe SR, Borodinsky L, Lyon SR. Potential exposure to Bisphenol A from food contact use of epoxy coated cans. J Coatin Technol 1998;70:69-74.

APME- Epoxy Resins Committee. Bisphenol A- Oestrogenic activity, March 1997, Brussels.

Fast screening method for Bisphenol A in environmental water and in food by solid- phase microextraction (SPME). J Health Sci 1998;45:39-46.

Biles JE, Mc Neal TP, Begley TH, Hollifield HC. Determination bisphinol A in reusable polycarbonate food contact plastics and migration to food stimulating liquids. J Agri Food Chem 1997;45:3541-4.

Larroque M, Vian L, Blaise A, Brun S. Methods de dosages des manomeres residuels des resins exposydiques dans des stimulants du vine. J Chromatogra 1998;445:107-17.

Takao Y, Chui Lee H, YASHU HIRO I, Kohra S, Tuminago N, Arizono K. Fast screening method for Bisphenol A in environmental water and in food by solid-phase microextraction (SPME). J Health Sci 1999;45:39-41.

Kawamura Y, Sano H, Yamada T. Migration of bisphinol A from coatings to drinks. J Food Hygenic Soc Japan 1999;40:158-65.

Takada H, Isobe T, Nakada N, Nishiyama H, Iguchi T, Irie H, Meri C. Detection of Bisphenol A and nonylphenols in human umbilical cords. Abstract B-6. Endocrine Disruptor 1st Annual Meeting at Kyoto, Dec 11-12, 1998.

Tayor JA, Judy BM, Rottinghaus BA, Blackwell KJ, Rottinghaus GE, Alworth LC, Vom Saal FS, Welshons WV. Bisphenol A bioaccumulates in the serum of pregnant mice. Available at Accessed 20 October 2012.

Scientific Committee on food (SCF): Opinion on BPA diglycidyl ether (BADGE) expressed on 24th March 1999. European Commission, Brussels. Available at Accessed 9 September 2012.

Mariotti A, Soderhalm KJ, Johnson S. The in vivo activity of bisGMA on murine uterine weight, nucleic acids and collagen. Eur J Oral Sci 1998;106:1022-7.

Mariotti A, Johnson S, Sodrehalm K-JM. The estrogenic effect of bis GMA on estrogen-sensitive target tissues. J Dent Assoc 1997;76:323-31.

Volkel W, Colnot T, Csanady GA, et al. Metabolism and kinetics of bisphenol A in humans at low doses following oral administration. Chem Res Toxicol 2002;15:1281-7.

Arakawa C, Fujimaki K, Yoshinaga J, et al. Daily urinary excretion of bisphenol A. Environ Health Prev Med 2004;9:22-6.

Tsukioka T, Terasawa J, Sato S, et al. Development of analytical method for determining traces amounts of BPA in urine samples and estimation of exposure to BPA. J Environ Chem 2004;14:57-63.

Matsumoto A, Kunugita N, Kitagawa K, Isse T, Oyama T, et al. Bisphenol A levels in human urine. Environ Health Perspect 2003;111:101-4.

Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment. Statement on Bisphenol A Diglycidyl Ether (BADGE) in canned Foods, 1997. Available at Accessed 2 July 2012.

Soriano S, Alonso-Magdalena P, Garcı´a-Are´valo M, Novials A, Muhammed SJ, et al. Rapid insulinotropic Action of Low Doses of Bisphenol-A on Mouse and Human Islets of Langerhans: Role of Estrogen Receptor β. PLoS One 2012;7(2):e31109. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031109.

Nadal A, Alonso-Magdalena P, Soriano S, Quesada I, Ropero AB. The pancreatic beta-cell as a target of estrogens and xenoestrogens: Implications for blood glucose homeostasis and diabetes. Mol Cell Endocrinol 2009;304:63-8.

Alonso-Magdalena P, Quesada I, Nadal A. Endocrine disruptors in the etiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nat Rev Endocrinol 2011;7:346-53.

Hectors TL, Vanparys C, van der Ven K, and Martens GA, Jorens PG, et al. Environmental pollutants and type 2 diabetes: a review of mechanisms that can disrupt beta cell function. Diabetologia 2011;54:1273-90.

Neel BA, Sargis RM. The paradox of progress: environmental disruption of metabolism and the diabetes epidemic. Diabetes 2011;60:1838-48.

Shankar A, Teppala S. Relationship between Urinary Bisphenol A Levels and Diabetes Mellitus. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011;96:3822-6.

Wang T, Li M, Chen B, Xu M, Xu Y, et al. Urinary Bisphenol A (BPA) Concentration Associates with Obesity and Insulin Resistance. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2012;97:E223-7. doi:10.1210/jc.2011-1989.

Vom Saal FS, Nagel SC, Timms BG, Welshons WV Implications for human health of the extensive bisphenol A literature showing adverse effects at low doses: a response to attempts to mislead the public. Toxicology 2005;212:244-52.

Vom Saal FS, Akingbemi BT, Belcher SM, Birnbaum LS, Crain DA, et al. Chapel Hill bisphenol A expert panel consensus statement: integration of mechanisms, effects in animals and potential to impact human health at current levels of exposure. Reprod Toxicol 2007;24:131-8.

Ben-Jonathan N, Hugo ER, Brandebourg TD. Effects of bisphenol A on adipokine release from human adipose tissue: Implications for the metabolic syndrome. Mol Cell Endocrinol 2009;304:49-54.

Hugo ER, Brandebourg TD, Woo JG, Loftus J, Alexander JW, et al. Bisphenol A at environmentally relevant doses inhibits adiponectin release from human adipose tissue explants and adipocytes. Environ Health Perspect 2008;116:1642-7.

Melzer D, Rice NE, Lewis C, Henley WE, Galloway TS. Association of urinary bisphenol a concentration with heart disease: evidence from NHANES 2003/06. PLoS One 2010;5:e8673. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008673.

Alonso-Magdalena P, Morimoto S, Ripoll C, Fuentes E, Nadal A. The estrogenic effect of bisphenol A disrupts pancreatic beta-cell function in vivo and induces insulin resistance. Environ Health Perspect 2006;114:106-12.

Alonso-Magdalena P, Laribi O, Ropero AB, Fuentes E, Ripoll C, et al. Low doses of bisphenol A and diethylstilbestrol impair Ca2+ signals in pancreatic alpha-cells through a nonclassical membrane estrogen receptor within intact islets of Langerhans. Environ Health Perspect 2005;113:969-77.

Thomas C, Gustafsson JA. The different roles of ER subtypes in cancer biology and therapy. Nat Rev Cancer 2011;11:597-608.

Alonso-Magdalena P, Vieira E, Soriano S, Menes L, Burks D, et al. Bisphenol A exposure during pregnancy disrupts glucose homeostasis in mothers and adult male offspring. Environ Health Perspect 2010;118:1243-50.

Wei J, Lin Y, Li Y, Ying C, Chen J, et al. Perinatal Exposure to Bisphenol A at Reference Dose Predisposes Offspring to Metabolic Syndrome in Adult Rats on a high-fat Diet. Endocrinology 2011;152:3049-61.

Bouskine A, Nebout M, Brucker-Davis F, Benahmed M, Fenichel P. Low doses of bisphenol A promote human seminoma cell proliferation by activating PKA and PKG via a membrane G-protein-coupled estrogen receptor. Environ Health Perspect 2009;117:1053-8.




How to Cite

Srivastava, R. K., & Godara, S. (2017). Use of polycarbonate plastic products and human health. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 2(1), 12–17. Retrieved from



Review Articles