If you look at the bottom of any reusable plastic container today, you might see a label declaring it “BPA-free”. BPA (or Bisphenol A) is used to make polycarbonate, a hard plastic that looks and feels like glass but is light and nearly unbreakable and is present in many household products.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, and many scientists believe it can cause cancer and reproductive harm. Health experts say more than 90% of our exposure to BPA comes from ingestion, from plastic food containers and bottles that could leach chemicals into food and drinks.

In Malaysia, CAPs’ past surveys and joint tests with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), and also the Wonjin Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health (WIOEH), have found BPA to be present in many products (water and baby feeding bottles, erasers, thermal papers, and plastic pellets used for recycled plastics). Although Malaysia legally prohibited polycarbonate in baby feeding bottles containing BPA in 2012, our tests in 2022 found it to be still present in water bottles. We even found BPA in a “BPA-free” feeding bottle (…/).

(CAP’s findings on BPA in erasers and thermal paper:…/. CAP’s findings on BPA and other chemicals in plastic pellets:…/)

In recent years, BPA-free products have flooded the market. The programme Talking Point investigates how such products still leach chemicals that affect our bodies and looks at some alternatives.