In a bid to contain the contamination, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced plans to require the use of BPA in all food products, including baked goods, pasta, bread, cookies, chips and ice cream.
The FDA said it will also consider other biodegradable alternatives.
The move is expected to make it easier for consumers to buy BPA-free products.
But the FDA also warned that it is not certain that the chemicals will be safe, and that consumers should be cautious about using them.
“Because of the limited scientific evidence, we cannot make recommendations on the safety of BPS,” the FDA said in a statement.
BPA is a chemical used in many household items, including plastics and coatings.
The chemical is not particularly toxic to humans but can leach into food.
The US Food and Cosmetic Association, which represents the industry, has been pushing for mandatory use of biodegradeable alternatives to BPA.
But BPA has a history of causing health problems, including birth defects and reproductive toxicity.
“There are thousands of chemicals that we know cause cancer,” said John Carrigan, a professor of environmental toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley.
“It’s not a single chemical.”
The Food and Chemical Toxicology Association said in 2014 that the chemical could be “part of a systemic response to BPS, which is likely to be part of a broader effort to reduce the exposure to BPs and other chemicals.”
BPA’s main chemical competitor is polystyrene.
The American Chemistry Council, which promotes organic chemistry, said in February that polystyrin is “probably the most widely used chemical in the world.”
In March, the American Chemistry Society, which has long promoted biodegradation, said that polysulfates are “one of the safest and most widespread chemicals used in the kitchen.”
In 2013, a study showed that a chemical called polyoxyethylene, which the FDA says is more likely to leach from plastics and paint, has “limited biodegrading activity” when tested in a lab.
In July, the FDA issued a draft report recommending that the agency “take the next steps in a phased approach to biodegrades BPS.”
The report noted that the risks of exposure from polysulphates are greater than those of polysarsulfates, a chemical found in many kitchen utensils.
A recent study found that one third of people who consume plastic utensil cleaner were exposed to polysulinic acid, a compound found in polystyrenes.
And in 2012, a US Food & Drug Administration study found polysorbate 80, which can leech from plastic bottles, had “limited evidence of bioremediation activity.”
In April, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations said that the use and storage of polycarbonate in plastic packaging has led to the “fatal” exposure of “many consumers, particularly children and the elderly.”
But the US Food Safety and Inspection Service said that plastic products were still safe to consume, including for food preparation.
“The safety of plastic products is well established, with more than 90 percent of food, beverages and cosmetics containing plastic, and most of these products are used to make food, food packaging and cosmetics,” the agency said in an email.
“Therefore, it is likely that these materials are not a cause of food poisoning or foodborne illness.”
Some studies have shown that people can survive food poisoning after eating the food they are eating.
But studies have also found that eating foods containing BPA or polysarbates can increase the risk of cancer.
Researchers say that there is no definitive link between exposure to the chemicals and cancer.
“We don’t know what the mechanisms are, but there’s no evidence of increased cancer risk,” Carrigan said.
“Most people, especially people with more advanced cancer, would not be exposed to a lot of these chemicals, and they’re just not really thought to be associated with that.”
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is reviewing the FDA’s decision to require mandatory use.
But in a response to the FDA, the CPSC said that it “will continue to support efforts to reduce consumer exposure to these chemicals and their associated risks.”
In the meantime, Carrigan noted that manufacturers of food are “not likely to voluntarily make any changes” that could help control the use or storage of BPD.
“A lot of the manufacturers are not even testing them, so we don’t have any reliable data to be able to tell what they are,” he said.