Lindsay McCormick is a Research Analyst.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high production volume chemical that is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is commonly found in food and beverage packaging, such as plastic bottles and the lining of food cans, as well as thermal paper receipts (see our previous blog). BPA is widely-recognized as an endocrine-disrupting chemical, meaning that it can alter the normal functioning of the body’s hormonal system. Hundreds of studies have been published associating BPA exposure with health effects, ranging from cancer to obesity to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Data from the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) show that nearly all people tested have BPA in their bodies.
Despite a plethora of data, numerous calls for action (for example, see here, here and here), and comprehensive regulation in France, it does not seem that national regulation of BPA in food packaging in the U.S. will be happening any time soon. The official position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is that, while BPA exhibits endocrine-disrupting properties at high doses, it is safe at the current levels occurring in food. Although the FDA banned the use of BPA-based materials in baby bottles, sippy cups, and infant formula packaging in 2012, FDA said it based this action on changes in the market, rather than safety concerns.
In the fall of 2014, FDA completed a four-year review of the literature, including more than 300 scientific studies, and concluded that the information does not “prompt a revision of FDA’s safety assessment of BPA in food packaging at this time.”
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently followed suit with their announcement that BPA does not pose a health risk to consumers, including children, at current exposure levels. (This is in contrast to the action of several EU member states, which have banned BPA in food contact materials for children under 3 years of age over the past few years.)
Meanwhile, scientists continue to churn out studies linking low-level BPA exposure to a variety of health effects. In this post, we discuss several new studies. Read More