Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound containing two phenol functional groups. It belongs to the phenol class of aromatic organic compounds, and is prepared by the reaction of two equivalents of phenol with one equivalent of acetone. It functions as a primary monomer in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.
This compound is synthesized by the condensation of acetone with phenol. The reaction is catalyzed by a strong acid, such as hydrochloric acid (HCl) or a sulfonated polystyrene resin. Industrially, a large excess of phenol is used to ensure full condensation; the product mixture of the cumene process (acetone and phenol) may also be used as starting material. A large number of ketones undergo analogous condensation reactions. Commercial production of BPA requires distillation – either extraction of BPA from many resinous byproducts under high vacuum or solvent-based extraction using additional phenol followed by distillation.
Packing and storage
BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic and polymeric coatings called epoxy resins for food packaging and storage that are essential to improve the safety of our food supply and contribute to healthy, modern life styles.
Polycarbonate plastic is used to make critical components of many medical devices and their housings. Its optical clarity allows direct observation of blood or other fluids to monitor proper flow. Health care providers depend on medical devices and equipment made with BPA for a transparent view within the human body so they can check for the presence of air bubbles or other obstructions during medical procedures.
Building and Construction
BPA is regularly used to strengthen products for human health and safety. Products like bike helmets, police shields, reading glasses and bullet-proof glass are all shatter resistant because of BPA.