CHEM Trust: People in all age groups are at risk from BPA in their diet

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that the health of people in all age groups, including young children, is at risk from bisphenol A (BPA) in their diets.

BPA is widely used in the production of plastics, such as those used in food packaging and reusable bottles, and in the linings of food and drink cans. Chemicals such as BPA can migrate into food and drinks, and human biomonitoring studies have shown that people are widely exposed to BPA.

BPA’s negative impact on human health has been known for years. It is known to disrupt the body’s hormone system, and exposure has been linked to a range of negative health impacts, including certain hormonal cancers, heart disease, reproductive issues, and negative impacts on children’s brain development.

In April EFSA published a re-evaluation of the toxicity of BPA after reviewing more than 800 new studies. This led to them  significantly reducing the tolerable daily intake (TDI), which it had previously set in 2015. A TDI is an estimate of the amount of a substance that a person can ingest daily (via air, food or drinking water) over their lifetime, without it posing a risk to their health.

The new TDI is around 20,000 times lower than the previous one. Experts from EFSA compared this new TDI with peoples’ estimated exposure to BPA, and concluded that the health of people in all age groups is at risk from BPA in their diet.

CHEM Trust is calling on EU regulators to respond to this new assessment and urgently act to minimise these exposures, in particular from the use in food contact materials and other consumer products. Learn more about harmful chemicals in food contact materials on our website – Toxic Free Food Packaging.

BPA is the most well-known and commonly used bisphenol, but other similar bisphenols (such as BPS and BPF) are increasingly being used as replacements, as CHEM Trust highlighted in their Toxic Soup report. Some of these alternative bisphenols have shown similar health impacts to BPA, and several are also known to disrupt the body’s hormone system. Despite this, EFSA’s evaluation does not include these alternative bisphenols in its assessment. This is concerning because daily combined exposure to these similar bisphenols is common and increasing.

CHEM Trust recommends that this new TDI is applied as a temporary TDI for other relevant bisphenols until they have also been fully assessed.

While we wait for the legislation on harmful chemicals in food packaging and other food contact materials to be reformed and improved, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of exposure. Learn more on our website.