European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will launch a two-stage public consultation in July on an updated and extended assessment of exposure in Europe to bisphenol A (BPA), a substance used in food contact materials and in other products. The Authority’s last exposure assessment of BPA was in 2006 and this new assessment will mark a major update, encompassing both dietary and non-dietary sources (including paper, inhalation and dust).
BPA is a chemical used to manufacture plastics and resins. For example, BPA is used in polycarbonate, a high performance transparent, rigid plastic. Polycarbonate is used to make food containers, such as returnable beverage bottles, infant feeding (baby) bottles, tableware (plates and mugs) and storage containers
EFSA completed its full risk assessment of BPA in 2006 and set a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of 0.05 mg/kg body weight/day for this substance.
Uncertainties remain about the possible relevance to human health of some BPA-related effects observed in rodents at low dose levels. BPA is an endocrine disruptor and, following some minority scientific opinions, could cause, among other effects, biochemical changes in the central nervous system, effects on the immune system and enhanced susceptibility to breast cancer.
World Health Organization in its last assessment (2010) recommended no new regulations limiting or banning the use of Bisphenol-A, stating that “initiation of public health measures would be premature”.
In 2010, France and Denmark had taken national measures to restrict the use of Bisphenol A. France focussed on baby bottles only, while Denmark targeted also other food contact materials intended for children.
In January 2011 the Commission adopted Directive 2011/8/EU, which provides for a ban prohibiting the manufacture in the EU of baby bottles containing BPA (March 1) and a ban on the placing on the market and import into the EU of such products (June 1). The provisions on BPA are now included in Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 on plastic food contact materials amended by Regulation (EU) No 321/2011.
In the USA, the FDA pose a ban on BPA in baby bottles on 17th July 2012, in Canada BPA is declared as toxic since 2010, and Australia banned BPA voluntarily since 2010.