The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed a comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and toxicity, which concludes that the chemical poses no health risk to consumers in any age group at current exposure levels.
BPA is a component of certain plastics and may migrate into foods from food contact materials, especially the internal coatings used in cans and re-usable plastic tableware. Its safety has been questioned by a number of consumer groups and the food industry has been under pressure to discontinue its use, especially in baby food packaging.
The expert Panel on food contact materials carried out the re-evaluation by reviewing the scientific data published since the last BPA dietary exposure assessment was undertaken in 2006. Panel member and BPA working group chair Dr Trine Husøy commented, “The Panel decided to re-evaluate the safety of BPA because of the publication of a huge number of new research studies in recent years.”
The Panel used that data to calculate a revised ‘tolerable daily intake’ (TDI) for BPA of 4 µg/kg of body weight/day – reduced from the previous safe level of 50 µg/kg – taking into account remaining uncertainties about the potential health effects of BPA on the mammary gland, reproductive, neurobehavioural and immune systems. However the Panel concluded that current exposure rates from dietary and other sources are still three to five times lower than the new TDI.
The full Scientific Opinion on BPA safety can be accessed on the EFSA website here. A lay summary and FQA on the topic are also available on the site.