Food safety body launches consultation on BPA evaluation

17 January 2014 12:09 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said on Friday it has launched a public consultation on its study on bisphenol A (BPA) which recommends a reassessment of what is considered tolerable exposure but states that current EU consumption levels are safe.

Running until 13 March, the consultation is seeking feedback on the independent EU food and feed risk assessment body’s review of scientific literature and earlier risk assessments of the material.

The key finding of EFSA’s draft opinion on BPA is that tolerable daily intake - the measure of what is considered the maximum safe daily consumption amount – should be cut by 90%, to 0.005mg per kilogram of body weight per day.

However, the highest estimates for oral and non-oral exposure to the material in the EU are around three to five times below the proposed reduced tolerable daily intake  level, EFSA added, meaning the health risk for all population groups is low.

The tolerable daily intake revision should be set on a temporary basis, as EFSA is awaiting the release of a significant new report on BPA by the US National Toxicology Programme, a spokesman said. 

According to the EFSA spokesperson, the decision to examine BPA data was arrived at by the group, rather than prompted by EU policymakers, following the publication of new data on the material.

“This is a draft opinion, which is now put out to public consultation. Those comments will be looked at again by our experts, and where relevant will be incorporated into a final version of the scientific opinion,” he said.

“At that point our role in the process ends, and this advice is then considered by risk managers - policy makers, the European Commission, member states - who will decide on next steps. In the EU regulatory system there is a clear divide between risk managers and risk assessors. We don’t have a role in defining legislation,” he added.

EFSA’s draft opinion states that BPA is likely to adversely affect kidney and liver function. The body added that a link between BPA and reproductive, nervous, immune, metabolic or cardiovascular effects is not considered to be likely at present, but it concludes that they may be of potential concern for human health, which adds to the uncertainty over the risks of the material.

Trade body PlasticsEurope welcomed the draft opinion verdict, stating that it is in line with the findings of other regulators. The group’s polycarbonates, BPA and epoxy resins groups said in a joint comment: “EFSA’s opinion clearly confirms that BPA is not a concern for human health, including newborns and young children. This is consistent with the findings of other regulatory agencies across the globe.”

The EFSA consultation and full draft documentation can be found here.

By Tom Brown