A study published online February 28, 2013 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology finds an association between higher consumption from polycarbonate (PC) water dispensers and urinary bisphenol A (uBPA) levels (Makris et al.). The researchers from the Cyprus University of Technology and Harvard, USA estimated BPA exposure based on two spot samples of urinary BPA taken one week apart during the end of July and early August 2010, the warmest months in Cyprus with temperatures above 40 degrees. At the same time they administered a questionnaire investigating water consumption patterns, including consumption of water from large PC water dispensers, tap water, groundwater and PET bottles. Apart from water consumption, gender, age, weight as well as other demographic information was accounted for.

PC water dispensers are common place in Cyprus and other warm countries, as well as in large firms and water consumption from them may constitute a significant part of the daily water intake. BPA is a monomer used to manufacture PC plastic. Large PC water containers may be reused as many as 50 times.

In the study, PC water consumption and uBPA levels were found to be significantly associated. After adjusting for demographics, the association between PC water consumption and uBPA levels only held for women, not for men. Daily BPA intake was estimated to amount to 118 ng/ kg bodyweight/day, which is more than double the intake levels previously found in biomonitoring studies. Mean creatinine-adjusted BPA levels were 4.55 µg/g with an interquartile range of 3.37-8.28 µg/g. The researchers hypothesize that during harsh summer conditions, when PC water consumption increases, containers are reused often, and UV light exposure is high, BPA exposure is also likely to increase.


Makris et al. “The association between water consumption from polycarbonate containers and bisphenol A intake during harsh environmental conditions in summer.” Environmental Science &Technology (published online February 28, 2013). doi. 10.1021/es304038k