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Endocrine Disruptors

Approved technique detects bisphenol A in some beverages

Mass spectrometry–based method allows scientists to measure the endocrine disruptor at very low levels

by Giuliana Viglione
August 30, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 34


The structure of bisphenol A (BPA).

Bisphenol A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor, is often found in plastic packaging, where small amounts of it can leach into food and drinks. Measuring low levels of the chemical poses a significant challenge to scientists because of the many potential sources of contamination in a laboratory setting. At the ACS national meeting in San Diego last week, researchers at Eurofins Food Integrity and Innovation reported a newly approved method for the quantification of BPA in packaged nonalcoholic beverages, like juices and sodas. The new method salts and then freezes out BPA to extract it from the sample, then uses liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to measure BPA levels as low as 0.245 µg/L. Critically, the procedure uses only glass containers—because BPA is such a common compound, it’s “very crucial” to control any potential sources of contamination by eliminating contact with plastic during testing, explained Katerina Mastovska, an associate director at Eurofins Food Integrity and Innovation. The new method has been approved by the standards-setting nonprofit AOAC International as a so-called first action method for BPA detection in nonalcoholic beverages (J. AOAC Int. 2018, DOI: 10.5740/jaoacint.18-0132). The team has also been validating the procedure for testing nonbeverage products. In the meantime, the first action designation means Mastovska and her team have started collaborative studies with other labs, providing samples to make sure others can achieve the same quantification results. “The reproducibility of data is the critical piece,” Mastovska said.


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