Bisphenol A and nonylphenol study

The lack of a database means that we do not know whether introducing parameters for BPA and NP will pose a challenge to drinking water supply in Germany. The aim of this research project is to analyse a meaningful number of drinking water samples from supply companies for BPA and NP to obtain information on drinking water contamination in Germany.

In line with the European Commission proposal to revise the drinking water directive from 01.02.2018, an imposed parameter value of 0.1 µg/l for bisphenol A (BPA) and 0.3 µg/l for nonylphenol (NP) in drinking water is scheduled. Currently, bisphenol A (BPA) and nonylphenol (NP) are not stipulated parameters in the German Drinking Water Ordinance. There is therefore no database that can be used to estimate whether introducing these parameter values will present a challenge to the drinking water supply in Germany.

The fact remains that relevant concentrations of BPA and NP can be detected in water. For instance, the maximum BPA concentration in the Ruhr river at the Wetter gauge was an annual average of 0.028 µg/l, with the highest single value being 0.12 µg/l (Ruhr quality report 2015). Discharge from municipal waste water treatment plants and contamination from the BPA-processing industry are the main causes of BPA pollution in surface water.

Equally, BPA can be released into drinking water from materials that contain BPA such as polycarbonates or epoxy resin coatings in products for drinking water application. BPA release is, in fact, limited as part of hygiene testing according to German Environment Agency guidelines, however, the current test value of 2.5 µg/l is significantly above the parameter value of 0.1 µg/l planned in the Drinking Water directive.

The aim of this research project is to analyse a meaningful number of drinking water samples from supply companies for BPA and NP in order to obtain information on the contamination of drinking water in Germany with bisphenol A, and to exclude nationwide contamination of the drinking water above the level of the parameter value planned by the Commission. In addition, in relevant individual cases, the BPA and NP contents should be tested along the raw water – treatment – storage – distribution chain.

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