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Europe’s food agency maintains BPA stance

Europe’s food-standards agency has rejected calls for a tougher stance on bisphenol A, pending information on ongoing research.

Bisphenol A (commonly known as BPA) is widely used in the manufacturing of plastic products, and concerns have been raised over its possible toxicity, with its presence in baby bottles being particularly contentious. Some countries have banned it outright in certain products.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked to look again at the controversial chemical by the European Commission following the release in September of a report from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES). That report said that health effects had been proven in animals and were suspected in humans. Enough evidence had accumulated, said the French agency, to make clear that preventing exposure of infants and pregnant women should be a priority.

However, the EFSA says that the French report has a fundamentally different approach to its own work.

“The approach of the ANSES report is that of hazard identification, comprising also elements which could be relevant for the safety assessment of non-dietary exposure to BPA, whereas the EFSA opinion of 2010 addresses the assessment of risk from dietary exposure to BPA. This is the main reason for divergences between the ANSES and EFSA conclusions on BPA,” says the European agency’s statement.

For this reason, the EFSA is not changing its 2010 opinion that confirmed previous estimates of a ‘tolerable daily intake’ of 0.05 milligrams of BPA per kilogram of body weight.

However, EFSA is setting up a working group to keep an eye on new evidence, especially data from low-dose studies currently underway in the United States, which should be reporting next year.

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