BPA exposure is less than thought: EFSA

Consumers are less exposed to bisphenol A (BPA), the chemical used to make epoxy-phenolic coatings in the canmaking industry, than previously estimated, according to the latest research by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA).


The research, the first since 2006 carried out by the EFSA, showed that the estimates are less than one percent of the current Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for BPA (0.05 milligrams/kg bw/day) established seven years ago.


It is unlikely the change the views of campaigners who say that even very low exposure to BPA can have an effect on human health, and especially to pregnant women and babies. The canmaking industry has been working on BPA-free and BPA-NI (non-intent) coating chemistries that match the performance of epoxy phenolic coatings for a number of years with some products already used in the market.

The new research is the EFSA’s first review of exposure to BPA since 2006 and the first to cover both dietary and non-dietary sources (including thermal paper and environmental sources such as air and dust).

As part of a two-stage process of its full risk assessment, EFSA is now seeking feedback on this draft assessment of consumer exposure to BPA. During a later phase, EFSA will publicly consult on the second part of its draft opinion, focussing on its assessment of the potential human health risks of BPA.

New data resulting from an EFSA call for data led to a considerable refinement of exposure estimates compared to 2006. For infants and toddlers (aged 6 months-3 years) average exposure from the diet is estimated to amount to 375 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per day (ng/kg bw/day) whereas for the population above 18 years of age (including women of child-bearing age) the figure is up to 132 ng/kg bw/day. By comparison, these estimates are less than one percent of the current Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for BPA (0.05 milligrams/kg bw/day) established by EFSA in 2006.

For all population groups above three years of age thermal paper was the second most important source of BPA after the diet (potentially accounting for up to 15 percent of total exposure in some population groups).

Among other key findings, scientists found dietary exposure to BPA to be the highest among children aged three to ten (explainable by their higher food consumption on a body weight basis). Canned food and non-canned meat and meat products were identified as major contributors to dietary BPA exposure for all age groups.