French bisphenol A opinion puts debate back on scientific ground

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

A European plastics industry body has hailed a decision by the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) to use scientific rather than political considerations to guide its ongoing evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA).

Plastics Europe said it welcomed the recent announcement by AFSSA to focus on research and to develop a “science-based methodology”​ to assess the effects of exposure to the chemical.

In an update to its position on the chemical last week, the French agency said it did not accept the conclusions of dozens of studies carried out on animals that had found a link between exposure to BPA and a raft of serious health problems. The body said the methodology of the research “made it impossible to formally interpret their data, calling into question the previous assessments of the health risks of BPA”.

While AFSSA did not recommend any regulatory changes to restrict the use of the substance, it listed a number of measures that consumers should take minimise their exposure to BPA after highlighting there were “warning signs”​ over the chemical.

It also called for the rapid development of a methodology to detect potential toxicity in humans of very low doses and that more research be carried out into replacement products and endocrine disruptors in general.

Plastics Europe backed this research-based approach and said it hoped this would advance the debate on studies “purporting to show low dose effects on to firm scientific ground”.

Jasmin Bird of the group’s Polycarbonate/Bisphenol A industry group said: “An approach grounded in science rather than politics is the only one that can provide consumers with the reassurance that the products they buy are safe.”

BPA is a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate bottles and in epoxy resin food can linings, in October. It continued use in food contact materials has come under increasing scrutiny. Last week, EFSA announced it would be holding an international summit to provide an update to its opinion. The World Health Organisation and United Nations are also to host an international conference on BPA in October.

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