The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded there is no health risk to consumers of any age group from current exposure levels to bisphenol A (BPA) after it completed a comprehensive evaluation of data.
“Exposure from the diet or from a combination of sources [from diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper] is considerably under the safe level,” said EFSA in a statement.
“Although new data and refined methodologies have led EFSA's experts to considerably reduce the safe level of BPA from 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day to 4 micrograms, the highest estimates for dietary exposure and for exposure from a combination of sources — called “aggregated exposure” in EFSA's opinion — are three to five times lower than the new tolerance levels, said EFSA.
BPA, a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate, can coatings and cash register receipt coatings, was re-evaluated by EFSA to include a large number of research studies published since its last evaluation in 2006.
“With significantly more and better data we have updated and more accurately estimated dietary exposure to BPA for all population groups,” said Trine Husøy, a member of EFSA's expert panel dealing with food contact materials and chair of the BPA working group. “As a result, we now know that dietary exposure is four to fifteen times lower than previously estimated by EFSA, depending on the age group.”
In the United States, industry experts applauded the expansive nature of the European study and noted that the results back up last year's definitive position from U.S. studies.
“EFSA's overall conclusion is similar to recent statements from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] on the safety of BPA,” Said Steven Hentges, of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. “Going beyond previous assessments, EFSA evaluated exposure to BPA not only from food, but also from a range of other potential sources.
“Many other government bodies around the world have also evaluated the scientific evidence on BPA and have clearly stated that BPA is safe as used in food contact materials. Similar to EFSA's conclusion, FDA responded to the question, ‘Is BPA safe?' with one unambiguous word: ‘Yes.' Supporting this clear conclusion is one of the largest studies ever conducted on BPA, which was published by FDA researchers in 2014, and scientific documentation on numerous other studies that was recently released,” Hentges said in a press release.
The EFSA study also found a “lack of supporting data” on the potential for BPA to be absorbed through the skin by touching coated paper.
EFSA said it will reconsider the temporary tolerance levels when the results of long-term research by the U.S. National Toxicology Program are available for evaluation in two to three years. It said this research is expected to address many of the remaining uncertainties about BPA's toxic effects.
Gayle S. Putrich contributed to this report