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May/June 2011
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water bottlesBisphenol A

Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, is an organic chemical produced in large quantities and used widely in the production of plastics. Because bisphenol A is soluble in water and undergoes degradation in the environment, there have been concerns about potential risk posed by Bisphenol A to waterborne organisms. These concerns have led to the approval of a new ASTM International standard under the jurisdiction of Committee D19 on Water.

D7574, Test Method for Determination of Bisphenol A in Environmental Waters by Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry, was developed by Subcommittee D19.06 on Methods for Analysis for Organic Substances in Water.

“BPA has become an important high volume industrial chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins,” says Lawrence Zintek, national organic methods development expert, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Chicago Regional Laboratory, and a member of D19. Zintek notes that these resins are used in a wide variety of products, including, but not limited to:

  • Adhesives,
  • Automobiles,
  • Composites,
  • Dental sealants,
  • Electrical and electronic equipment,
  • Electrical laminates for printed circuit boards,
  • Paints,
  • Protective coatings,
  • Reusable food and drink containers, and
  • Sports and safety equipment.

“BPA is expected to have low persistence, low bioaccumulation potential and is expected to biodegrade under environmental conditions,” says Zintek. “BPA has been reported to have adverse effects in aquatic organisms and may be released into environmental waters directly from manufacturing and at trace levels through landfill leachate and wastewaters.”

According to Zintek, D7574 could be used for water monitoring by sewage treatment plants and state agencies. The test method has been validated for use with surface water and secondary and tertiary publicly owned treatment works facilities. It has not been investigated for use with saltwater or solid sample matrices.

CONTACT

Technical Information: Lawrence Zintek, U.S. EPA Region 5 Chicago Regional Laboratory, Chicago, Ill.

Phone: 312-886-2925

ASTM Staff: Brynn Murphy

Phone: 610-832-9640