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BPA Not a Public Health Risk, Says EFSA

Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) from the diet and other sources is considerably under the safe level and therefore is not a public health risk, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). EFSA's scientific opinion, published January 21, 2015, is based on a comprehensive re-evaluation of BPA conducted by EFSA's Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel).

The evaluation included a detailed analysis of BPA exposure level data that became available since EFSA's 2006 evaluation. EFSA also issued scientific opinions on BPA in 2008 and 2010. In the most recent evaluation, the CEF Panel evaluated BPA exposure in humans in several ways:

  1. External exposure (i.e., drinking water, inhalation, and dermal contacts);
  2. Internal exposure (absorbed BPA); and
  3. Aggregated exposure (i.e., dust, diet, cosmetics, and paper).

The highest BPA dietary intake was estimated for infants and toddlers (0.875 µg/kg bw per day) and the highest aggregated BPA exposure level was found in adolescents (estimated at 1.449 µg/kg bw per day). BPA exposure among women of childbearing age and men of the same age was estimated at 0.388 µg/kg bw per day.

BPA toxicity was calculated using a weight-of-evidence approach. Benchmark dose (BMDL10) response modeling was conducted for kidneys and mammary glands. A BMDL10 of 8960 µg/kg bw per day (HED of 609 µg/kg bw per day) was calculated for kidneys based on changes in mean relative kidney weight in a two-generation toxicity study in mice. No BMDL10 could be calculated for mammary glands. Using an uncertainty factor of 150, a temporary Tolerable Daily Intake (t-TDI) of 4 µg/kg bw per day was determined.

Since dietary exposure to BPA—even for the highest exposed groups—is below the t-TDI of 4 µg/kg bw per day, EFSA concluded that there is no health concern for BPA at the estimated levels of exposure. Although, while uncertainty around dietary exposure to BPA was low, the CEF Panel noted that there is uncertainty with respect to BPA exposure from non-dietary sources. More studies are recommended, including further work to refine the Human Equivalent Dose approach used to extrapolate from experimental results in animals to humans, further studies on dermal contact with BPA, and additional studies on the potential health effects of BPA on specific organs.

The full report is available on the EFSA website.