A UK scientific committee has backed the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA’s) draft scientific opinion on bisphenol A (BPA).
The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) said it generally agreed with the conclusions on the EFSA consultation on the potential human health risks.
COT agreed that further research on possible non-monotonic dose-response relationships for BPA would be helpful as well as dermal absorption and metabolism following dermal absorption.
EFSA lowers TDI
EFSA lowered the tolerable daily intake (TDI) from 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day to 5 micrograms, in the first of a two part assessment.
The National Toxicology Programme (NTP) is conducting a long-term study in rats involving prenatal as well as postnatal exposure to BPA which is expected to be completed in the next four years.
EFSA said that the health risk is low because the highest estimates for combined oral and non-oral exposure are 3-5 times lower than the temporary TDI, depending on the age group.
One of the recommendations in the draft EFSA opinion was for further investigation of the toxicokinetics of BPA in mice.
COT considered this should be extended to include the toxicokinetics of BPA in humans.
Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models could be developed to explore the time-course of BPA concentrations in tissues.
The independent scientific committee provides advice to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Department of Health on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals.
FSA wait for final opinion
“The FSA will consider its advice and position on BPA in light of the final EFSA opinion,” said the FSA.
“It will work with other EU member states and the European Commission to consider if any further risk management measures are required and to ensure a harmonised and proportionate risk based approach to managing the issue across the European Union.”
COT agreed that metabolic, genotoxicity, immunological and carcinogenicity effects were ‘not likely’.
However, criticism of cross-sectional studies was ‘excessive’.
“In addition, the wording that there was “no convincing evidence” of an obesogenic effect implied that the possibility of a hazard would be dismissed unless the evidence was overwhelming, which was not consistent with the weight of evidence approach that was being taken,” said the committee.
“Associations should not be dismissed simply because there could be confounding by other chemicals.”