The European Food Safety Authority has published its long-awaited scientific opinion on the safety of bisphenol A, concluding there is no convincing evidence for it to revise its current exposure limits.
In a Sept. 30 statement, EFSA said: Following a detailed and comprehensive review of recent scientific literature and studies on the toxicity of bisphenol A at low doses, scientists on the European Food Safety Authority's CEF Panel conclude they could not identify any new evidence which would lead them to revise the current Tolerable Daily Intake for BPA of 0.05 [milligram/kilogram] body weight set in its 2006 opinion and reconfirmed in its 2008 opinion.
The CEF panel, which deals with issues related to food-contact materials, enzymes, flavorings and processing aids, concluded that there is insufficient available data to provide convincing evidence of neurobehavioral toxicity of BPA.
EFSA said one member of the panel expressed a minority opinion, saying that some recent studies point to uncertainties regarding adverse health effects below the level used to determine the current TDI. That member agreed with the majority view that those studies could not be used to establish a lower TDI but asked that the current TDI should become a temporary TDI.
EFSA said the CEF Panel members acknowledge that some recent studies report adverse effects on animals exposed to BPA during development at doses well below those used to determine the current TDI. Those effects include biochemical changes in the central nervous system, effects on the immune system and enhanced susceptibility to breast cancer. However, EFSA said those studies have many shortcomings and their relevance for human health cannot be assessed. If new relevant data becomes available in the future, the panel will reconsider its opinion.
This latest review was initiated at the request of the European Commission, which asked EFSA to review recent scientific literature on the toxicity of BPA to assess whether the TDI should be updated; to assess a new study on possible neurodevelopmental effects (known as the Stump study); and to advise on the risk assessment carried out by the Technical University of Denmark's Food Institute.
During the review process, EFSA held consultations with experts across Europe and with several international risk assessment authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada and the World Health Organization. These consultations covered the design of scientific studies on BPA, toxicological aspects and the strengths and weaknesses of certain studies.
BPA is used in the production of polycarbonate and epoxy resins.