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Pong makes cell phone and iPad cases that reduce users’ exposure to radiation. When I found out that they’d recently changed the material used to make the cases from silicone to plastic Lexan, I did some research. Lexan is made of bisphenol A (BPA). I wrote to Pong to express my concern that they were trading radiation exposure for exposure to endocrine-disruptors, and this was their response:

Thank you for your interest in PONG. Just as the safety of cell phone radiation is important to us at Pong, so is the safety of our products.  At present, dietary intake of BPA appears to be the primary source of human exposure and thus the highest risk factor to consumers.

However, while free BPA, such as that found in thermal paper and carbonless copy paper, can readily be transferred to skin, the BPA contained in plastic such as Lexan is in a bound form, not a free form.  Therefore, Pong cell phone cases should create no risk to consumers of accidental ingestion of BPA through exposure from skin residue.

I must say, I don’t buy it. As the Pong rep himself pointed out, we know that BPA can be absorbed through the skin, as it is in the case  of thermal paper (like receipts). I haven’t seen any scientific literature stating that BPA is not subject to skin absorption in a “bound form.” The infamous Nalgene bottles made of Lexan are surely a “bound form” of BPA, and they have been shown to leach the chemical into water, even without being heated.

Since my email (although likely not due to my email), Pong has quietly removed most mentions of Lexan from its site. Before, it was even broadcast in a banner on Pong’s homepage.

If Pong’s choice of BPA-laden material concerns you too, email them at info@pongresearch.com.

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