European safety watchdogs reaffirm belief in safety of BPA

Source of Article:  http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/European-safety-watchdogs-reaffirm-belief-in-safety-of-BPA

 

By Rory Harrington, 02-Jun-2009

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) have no plans to re-examine their advice on bisphenol A (BPA) despite mounting concern in the United States over the substance.

Both bodies have reconfirmed their approval for the use of the chemical in food contact materials such as hard, clear food containers and sealants in the linings of food and beverage cans. In January 2007, EFSA set a permanent Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of 0.05 milligram/kg body weight.

EFSA told FoodProductionDaily.com that it had not seen any information that would lead it to question its previous findings. The FSA said it did not believe consumers in the UK were exposed to levels of BPA that could be considered dangerous.

BPA bans

The declarations from both the European and UK food safety watchdogs come as the campaign to outlaw the chemical gathers pace in North America amid growing anxiety from consumers and politicians.

Last year, Canada became the first country in the world to ban the import and sale polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA. The government also pledged to spend $1.7m over three years to study the chemical. Last month, the US state of Minnesota passed a similar ban, closely followed by the city of Chicago. Further bans are under consideration in California, New York and Connecticut. A nationwide ban has also been proposed to Congress.

In March, six baby bottle manufacturers confirmed their intention to stop using BPA in their bottles sold in the US but will continue to sell the bottles in the UK. Major retailers and manufacturers, such as Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, have promised to phase out the use of BPA in children's products.

A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health confirmed the substance can leach from polycarbonate drinking bottles into humans, prompting renewed calls for a ban from the anti-BPA lobby. The study revealed that participants who drank for a week from polycarbonate bottles and baby bottles showed a two-thirds increase of in their urine.

EFSA confirms no change on BPA

Nevertheless, EFSA confirmed that it remained convinced that its previous opinion remains valid.

“EFSA constantly reviews new scientific information as it becomes available with a view to revising its opinions if this is considered necessary,” a spokesman for the body told FoodProductionDaily.com.

He added: “None of the studies which have so far been published have brought into question EFSA’s previous findings on BPA.

“EFSA is aware of the study recently published by the Harvard School of Public Health and has already considered different exposure pathways to BPA, including polycarbonate bottles, in its opinions published in January 2007 and July 2008. These opinions assumed much higher exposure levels than the ones reported in the Harvard study.”

EFSA’s expert panel on food contact materials has an on-going task to assess new materials and re-examine the safety of materials which are already in use when this is considered necessary.

A spokesman for the FSA said: “The view of the FSA on BPA has not changed. We do not believe that UK consumers are exposed to levels of BPA that would be considered a danger.”

 

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