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Bisphenol A levels in food too low to pose health problems

By Rory Harrington, 10-Nov-2010

Related topics: Industry news

Food is the major source of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) but that levels of the chemical in the human body are very low and quickly eliminated said an international panel of experts from the United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The international meeting, which was attended by 30 scientists in Canada this week, said that BPA is migrating from food packaging, such as plastic containers (including baby bottles) and coated food cans, into the food – but raised no concerns about their levels.

It also concluded that other sources such as house dust, cash register receipts and thermal papers, are of “minor relevance”.

The summit made its declaration after reviewing all the latest scientific information on the substance – used in polycarbonate bottles and the epoxy lining of food cans.

These included recent experimental and epidemiological studies that had found associations between low BPA exposure levels and some adverse health outcomes. The meeting said that it was currently difficult to interpret the relevance of these studies and that until the negative links were confirmed taking public health actions would be premature.

"These are important conclusions that will help to direct further research,” said Angelika Tritscher, WHO toxicologist. “Several important studies are already in progress that will help to clarify the extent of human health impact of this chemical.”

The declaration comes as studies from both the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and US academic research confirmed that while BPA is present in foods, levels detected were so low as to pose no health risk.

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