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EFSA Advises on Safety of Bisphenol A

Dec 1, 2011

At the request of the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a statement on bisphenol A (BPA) in response to September 2011 reports by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses. Scientific experts on EFSA’s Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) consider overall that the information in the report on health effects of BPA does not change the views expressed by the Panel in its 2010 opinion on the safety of BPA.

The Panel explains that Anses’ work was limited to a hazard identification while EFSA has carried out a full risk assessment of BPA[3]. The tolerable daily intake (TDI) for bisphenol A, first established by EFSA in 2006, is set to protect all human populations for lifetime exposure to this substance through the diet.

EFSA has an ongoing programme of monitoring of scientific developments on BPA. Following a preliminary review of new literature, the CEF Panel confirms, as in 2010, that uncertainties remain about the possible relevance to human health of some BPA-related effects observed in rodents at low dose levels. The Panel will reconsider its opinion following further evaluations of new studies and after new data from low dose studies being conducted in the United States become available in 2012.

In order to further investigate the possible divergences between Anses and EFSA’s conclusions and identify uncertainties in the data, the CEF Panel has undertaken a review of new studies emerging on BPA from its ongoing monitoring of the scientific literature. For the majority of possible health effects, the Panel considers that there is no new information in the recent literature that would change its views as expressed in its 2010 opinion. However, the Panel could not yet consider in depth, the relevance for human health of new studies indicating toxicological effects of BPA in animals at low dose levels. New data due to be published from low dose studies conducted in the USA and exploring the uncertainties around BPA may further clarify issues.

EFSA is establishing a multidisciplinary working group of experts to further evaluate new scientific studies and data on bisphenol A as they become available. EFSA continues to closely monitor these developments which will help inform reconsideration of its scientific advice in 2012. EFSA will also liaise closely with US scientific experts on the studies that are currently in progress.

More information and the statement may be found on the EFSA Web site.