The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has repeated its view that bisphenol A (BPA) poses no human health risk through dietary exposure as it dismissed concerns raised by scientists in France.
But the Parma-based body announced it was assembling a team of experts to act as a BPA watchdog to constantly assess new scientific studies and data on the substance.
The safety watchdog added that remaining uncertainties over effects of the chemical in animals at low doses meant it would be scrutinising the significance of new studies in this area.
French concerns dismissed
EFSA delivered its latest verdict today after the French Food Safety Agency (ANSES) raised fresh concerns over the safety of BPA in September.
Brussels urged the agency to work together with its French counterparts to examine why scientists from the two bodies had reached diverging opinions on the chemical.
Experts from EFSA’s panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) rejected ANSES’ conclusions as being based on too narrow criteria.
“The Panel explains that Anses’ work was limited to a hazard identification while EFSA has carried out a full risk assessment of BPA,” said an EFSA statement.
It added: “The approach of the ANSES report is that of hazard identification, comprising also elements which could be relevant for the safety assessment of non-dietary exposure to BPA, whereas the EFSA opinion of 2010 addresses the assessment of risk from dietary exposure to BPA. This is the main reason for divergences between the ANSES and EFSA conclusions on BPA.
It stressed that the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for bisphenol A would “protect all human populations for lifetime exposure to this substance through the diet”.
The experts said new studies had produced no evidence that BPA was unsafe through dietary exposure.
But the panel reiterated that uncertainties remained over potential hazards to human health suggested by some BPA-related effects observed in rodents at low dose levels.
It pledged to reconsider its opinion after evaluating new research and following the publication in 2012 of new data from low dose studies currently underway in the US.
EFSA also revealed it was convening a multidisciplinary working group of experts to evaluate new scientific studies and data on BPA on an on-going basis, and vowed to work closely with scientific experts on research in progress.
Trade body Plastics Europe welcomed the opinion.
“We trust that the risk management authorities in the EU Commission and on national level will act according to the expert advice of their risk assessment experts,” said Jasmin Bird of the association’s polycarbonate/bisphenol A group. “An approach grounded in sound science is the only one that can provide consumers with the reassurance that the products they buy are safe.”