UpdateBisphenol-A scare overblown – US council

18 April 2008 04:29  [Source: ICIS news]

(Adds ACC’s call for the US FDA to release a review of the safety of BPA in food packaging products in paragraphs one and two)

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has urged the US Food and Drug Administration to release an updated review of the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact applications as soon as possible, the firm said in a statement released late on Thursday.

The review, regardless of its outcome, would help to educate and inform the general public, it added.

This request follows ACC’s earlier comments that blame the news media of over-blowing the possible health effects of BPA.

"Human exposure to BPA is far below levels deemed by governments around the world as safe," ACC vice president of products Sharon Kneiss said in a conference call with reporters.

Kneiss blasted US television reports on BPA carried on FOX News and NBC’s "Today" show as having mischaracterised the results of studies conducted on BPA.

Although high doses of BPA have been shown to damage the health of laboratory animals, linking those results to the effects of normal dosage levels on humans has created a panic, she said.

BPA is contained in polycarbonate (PC) food and beverage containers and mimics the hormone estrogen.

Steven Hentges, senior director of the ACC’s PC and BPA group, said most people ingest BPA in levels under 10 parts per billion (ppb). The European Union has set 600 ppb as the limit of safe consumption, he said.

But the chemical has received renewed scrutiny after the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released a draft report on Tuesday saying there was some concern that normal levels of BPA ingestion could be toxic for infants and children and lead to birth defects in human foetuses.

The report said there was negligible concern of harmful effects in adults. Both classifications fell short of the group’s highest ranking of serious concern.

The NTP concluded that more examination was needed of the chemical’s affect.

"The National Toxicology Program (NTP) report is consistent with studies done in US, Europe and Japan," Kneiss said.

Kneiss said the ACC would release results of its own ongoing BPA study in a year’s time.

A US Congressional committee is also investigating how the US FDA came about its decision to classify BPA as safe, accusing the agency of favouring studies funded by the chemical industry.

Rumours that the Canadian health agency Health Canada would soon classify BPA as a dangerous substance led Wal-Mart and other retailers to yank PC food and beverage containers from their shelves in the country. US retailers have reported increased glass and stainless steel bottle sales.

For more information on BPA and PC, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Serene Cheong
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