The story of BPA aka bisphenol A takes an unexpected yet welcome turn last Janaury when no less than the US FDA admitted that BPA may be bad you and for your family.
Yes, this is the same FDA that in October 2008 issued the following statement:
“Consumers should know that, based on all available evidence, the present consensus among regulatory agencies in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan is that current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and babies.”
In “Update on Bisphenol A (BPA) for Use in Food: January 2010”, the US FDA expressed some “concerns” about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. Working together with the National Toxicology Program, FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research, the regulatory body is conducting studies to further clarify questions about the health risks of BPA. In the meantime, the FDA is
- taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. These steps include: a) supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market; b) facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and c) supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.
- supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA.
- seeking further public comment and external input on the science surrounding BPA.
- not recommending that families change the use of infant formula or foods, as the benefit of a stable source of good nutrition outweighs the potential risk from BPA exposure
The European Food Safety Authority which was also at first skeptical about the BPA threat also issued an update on this issue. In particular, EFSA gives some conservative estimates of BPA exposure through diet in the table below.
Table 1. Conservative estimates of total dietary exposure to bisphenol A at different ages
|Age of consumer||Food/Beverages consumed||Dietary exposure to BPA based on conservative migration value in microgram/kg bw/day (Figures in parenthesis represent exposure based on typical migration value)|
|3 month infant||Breast milk only||0.2|
|3 month infant||Infant formula fed with glass or non-PC bottle||2.3|
|3 month infant||Infant formula fed with PC bottle||11* (4#)|
|6 month infant||Infant formula fed with PC bottle and commercial foods/beverages||13* (8.3#)|
|1.5 year-old child||2 kg commercial foods/beverages||5.3|
|Adult||3 kg commercial foods/beverages||1.5|
* Based on the upper value of 50 microgrammes BPA/litre of infant formula
# Based on the typical value of 10 microgrammes BPA/litre of infant formula
Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical widely used in the manufacture of plastics. It is present in many hard plastic bottles and in food packaging, particularly metal-based food containers and beverage cans. BPA has been shown to leach out of food containers into the food and drinks we consume. BPA is thought to be potentially carcinogenic, endocrine-disruptive, and has been associated with a wide range of diseases.
Additional resources on BPA:
Bisphenol A (BPA) Information for Parents from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Tips to avoid BPA exposure by the Environmental Working Group