Unlocking Insights into Bisphenols: Exploring Health, Environmental Impact, and Analytical Solutions

Bisphenols, notably Bisphenol A (BPA) ), Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE) and its substitutes such as Bisphenol S (BPS), play a significant role in various industrial applications. However, the widespread use of these chemicals has raised concerns about their potential health impacts, particularly due to their endocrine-disrupting properties, and environmental implications, including their persistence in ecosystems. In this blog, we delve into the complexities surrounding bisphenols and highlight the role of ESSLAB in providing certified reference materials crucial for the accurate analysis of these compounds.

Bisphenols in Industry: Applications and Concerns

Bisphenols are integral to the production of polycarbonate plastics such as water bottles, epoxy resins, and thermal paper developers, among other applications. However, the health effects of bisphenols, particularly BPA, have been a subject of debate. BPA, known for its stability and heat resistance, has been widely used but has faced scrutiny due to its potential to mimic human hormones, raising concerns about reproductive and developmental impacts.
In response to these concerns, alternatives like BPS and other derivatives have been explored. However, even these replacements have been added to regulatory lists of substances of very high concern. As industries seek safer alternatives, the analytical challenge lies in accurately detecting and quantifying these compounds in various matrices.
One of the prominent bisphenols, BADGE, is particularly concerning due to its prevalence in epoxy resins used in food and beverage packaging. Migration of BADGE from packaging materials into food has raised alarm bells, as it can lead to human exposure even in low concentrations. As such, there is a pressing need for accurate and reliable analytical methods to monitor and regulate the presence of bisphenols in various matrices.

Environmental Significance of BPA

  1. Widespread Presence: BPA has been found to be present in various environmental media, including surface water, groundwater, drinking water, soil, sediment, sludge, and landfill leachate. This widespread occurrence necessitates comprehensive environmental monitoring.
  2. Regulatory Scrutiny: The EPA's call for environmental testing reflects concerns about BPA's potential impacts on ecosystems and human health through environmental exposure.
  3. Potential for Contamination: BPA's presence in critical resources, like drinking water and soil highlights the potential risk of contamination and the need for monitoring and mitigation strategies.

Toxicological Significance of BPA

  1. Routes of Exposure: BPA can enter the body through inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion. These multiple routes of exposure increase the potential for widespread human exposure.
  2. Oestrogenic Effects: BPA has weak oestrogenic effects, which means it can mimic natural and synthetic oestrogens, potentially disrupting endocrine functions.
  3. Irritation and Sensitization: BPA can cause skin and eye irritation, with increased irritation when dissolved in organic solvents. It is also a skin sensitizer, leading to allergic reactions.
  4. Reproductive and Respiratory Risks: There is evidence of possible impairment to fertility and respiratory system irritation.
  5. Absorption and Metabolism: BPA is readily absorbed through the skin and, once ingested, is rapidly metabolized and excreted.
  6. Long-term Health Effects: While in vitro studies suggest potential genotoxicity, in vivo studies have not confirmed these effects. Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term health impacts of BPA exposure.

The recently introduced EPA Method 539.1 features an expanded list of priority endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), some of which were also included in the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3). Despite the availability of standardized methods for drinking water analysis, detecting steroid hormones and bisphenol A (BPA) at ultra-trace levels remains a significant challenge.

ESSLAB: Enabling Bisphenol Analysis with Certified Reference Materials

As a distributor partnered with many of the world’s leading Reference Material Producers (RMP),ESSLAB stands at the forefront of analytical solutions, offering certified reference materials tailored for the analysis of bisphenols .These CRMs serve as indispensable tools for laboratories and industries aiming to ensure the accuracy and reliability of their analytical methods. Here's how ESSLAB supports the analysis of bisphenols:

  1. Accuracy and Reliability: ESSLAB's CRMs are meticulously characterized and certified through internationally recognized procedures, guaranteeing their accuracy and reliability. Laboratories can trust these materials for method validation, quality control, and proficiency testing.
  2. Comprehensive Solutions: ESSLAB offers a comprehensive range of certified reference materials in various matrices supportive of the analysis of food, water, soil, and biological samples. This diversity ensures that laboratories have access to suitable CRMs regardless of their analytical requirements.
  3. Technical Support: ESSLAB provides comprehensive technical support to assist laboratories in selecting the appropriate CRMs, implementing analytical methods


The utilization of bisphenols in various industrial applications necessitates vigilant monitoring and a clear understanding of their health and environmental impacts. As regulatory scrutiny intensifies and industries strive for safer alternatives, the need for accurate analytical methods becomes paramount. ESSLAB's provision of certified reference materials specifically tailored for bisphenol analysis plays a decisive role in enabling laboratories and industries to meet these challenges effectively.
The use of these CRMs allow analytical chemists to perform analysis with confidence, contributing to informed decision-making and regulatory compliance in bisphenol management.

Product portfolio: 

Bisphenols & Microplastics literature: 

EPA Method 1694: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Water, Soil, Sediment, and Biosolids by HPLC/MS/MS

Method 539: Determination of Hormones in Drinking Water by Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry 

Research Methods: Assessment of automated off-line solid-phase extraction LC-MS/MS to monitor EPA priority endocrine disruptors in tap water, surface water, and wastewater. Goeury K, Vo Duy S, Munoz G, Prévost M, Sauvé S : 2022 May E-pub 2022 Jan 10. PMID: 35042051

REVIEW ARTICLE: Bisphenol A and its analogues: from their occurrence in foodstuffs marketed in Europe to improved monitoring strategies—a review of published literature from 2018 to 2023. 

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