Bisphenol A has been used since 1957 to make plastics such as epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics.
Its structure contains two phenol rings joined together by a carbon chain (as shown below):
Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bisphenol_A.svg
The IUPAC name for BPA is 4,4-(propane-2,2-diyl)diphenol.
The trouble with BPA is that it is recognised as an endocrine disruptor -its estrogenic which means its structure closely resembles estrogens (or oestrogens) – which are primarily female sex hormones. It can therefore mimic the bodies own hormones.
BPA has not been proven to have any negative side effects but there are concerns raised by a number of parties. It is has been speculated that it can lead to reproductive problems, damage to the brain, diabetes, obesity and cancer but the maximum permissible limits are fiercely debated.
To read more on BPA click here.