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Human exposure to bisphenol A much higher than previous estimates - study

By Rory Harrington, 22-Sep-2010

Related topics: Industry news

A leading scientist honoured for his research into bisphenol A (BPA) has urged regulators to take immediate action on the chemical after a new study indicated human exposure to the substance is higher than previously believed.

Fredrick vom Saal, Curators' professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri, said the study, which he co-authored, provides further evidence that BPA is harmful to human health and declared there was no reason for any further delay in introducing measures to curb human exposure to the chemical.

Yesterday, Prof vom Saal work on BPA was hailed when he received one of ten annual Heinz Awards handed out by the family foundation of the same name that recognises work addressing environmental issues.

The paper - Similarity of Bisphenol A Pharmacokinetics in Rhesus Monkeys and Mice: Relevance for Human Exposure – concludes rodent data on the health effects of BPA can be linked to predictions of human health effects from the substance with the use of everyday household products.

Exposure sources

"This study provides convincing evidence that BPA is dangerous to our health at current levels of human exposure," said Prof vom Saal. "The new results clearly demonstrate that rodent data on the health effects of BPA are relevant to predictions regarding the health effects of human exposure to BPA. Further evidence of human harm should not be required for regulatory action to reduce human exposure to BPA."

The researchers from the University of Missouri, in collaboration with scientists at the University of California-Davis and Washington State University, added that exposure to BPA comes not just from food and beverage packaging but also from thermal paper used for receipts, dental sealants and a host of yet-to-be discovered sources.

The findings in the study, published this week in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, suggest that not only is human exposure to BPA is much higher than some prior estimates but also that it is “likely to be from many still-unknown sources, indicating the need for governmental agencies to require the chemical industry to identify all products that contain BPA”, said a statement from the group.

Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are currently reviewing their opinions that BPA poses no health risk to humans and currently believed exposure levels

Similarity of Bisphenol A Pharmacokinetics in Rhesus Monkeys and Mice: Relevance for Human Exposure by Julia A. Taylor, Frederick S. vom Saal, Wade V. Welshons, Bertram Drury, George Rottinghaus, Patricia A. Hunt, Catherine A. VandeVoort, published in NIH journal Environmental Health Perspectives. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002514 (available at http://dx.doi.org/)