Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Sara Hubbard

Second Advisor

Dr. Tiffany Eurich

Third Advisor

Dr. Rachel Pool

Abstract

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic, solid substance that is structurally similar to estradiol, a naturally-occurring form of the female sex hormone estrogen. Since the 1957 discovery that BPA can function as an effective hardener, BPA-based plastics have been used to make a variety of consumer goods, such as water bottles, baby bottles, DVDs, eyeglass lenses, and medical devices, while BPA-based epoxy resins have been used to coat the insides of various food and drink containers, to line the insides of water pipes, and to create the thermal ink found on paper sales receipts. In recent years, however, numerous studies have suggested that BPA-exposure during fetal growth and childhood can lead to later problems like obesity, type 1 diabetes, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, and aggression. While BPA has already been banned from baby bottles, no BPA regulations have been placed on children's oral hygiene devices as of yet.

Some infant oral hygiene devices like toothbrushes claim to be BPA-free, while others do not make any statements regarding BPA content. In this research study, a technique was developed to determine the presence of BPA in toothbrushes made for infants and toddlers using fluorescence spectrophotometry. Using this technique, two different types of toothbrushes were analyzed: those labeled BPA-free and those not labeled. It was found that neither toothbrushes showed traces of BPA, although the toothbrush with no label showed an upward trend in regards to emission intensity that could possibly show the presence of BPA if more time was given in the solvent.

This thesis will discuss literature detailing the effects of BPA on infant health, the results of the fluorescence spectrophotometry study done on the toothbrushes, and future research that can be done to both enhance the current study and further the exploration of BPA-exposure in infants.

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