A new meta-study on Bisphenol A (BPA) aims to debunk health fears surrounding the food contact material, claiming risks associated with it are too low to present realistic concerns.
The research, which has been produced by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Washington and is supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), comprises 150 BPA impact studies.
These studies were presented at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in February and focused particuarly on whether the concentration of BPA was high enough to activate oestrogen effects in the blood.
In principle, BPA, which is known to have the potential to interfere with hormone secretion, attaches itself to the same proteins as oestrogen but to a much lesser degree. The meta-study discovered that in order to trigger a biological effect, concentration in the blood would have to be much higher.
Dr Justin Teeguarden
The analysis was presented by PNNL toxicologist Dr Justin Teeguarden at a public policy symposium he chaired entitled 'Can exposure science quell the furor over environmental endocrine disruption'.
"Looking at all the studies together reveals a remarkably consistent picture of human exposure to BPA with implications for how the risk of human exposure is interpreted," said Teeguarden.
"At these exposure levels, exposure to BPA can't be compared to giving a baby the massive dose of estrogens found in a birth control pill, a comparison made by others."
Glass jars and sealing lids
Presenting at a recent conference on 'Disposal-friendly plastic packaging', Actega Group claimed one way to avoid the issues associated with BPA was to use containers that did not employ the chemical, such as glass jars and sealing lids.
The firm said its Actega Rhenania division offered container lids free of BPA and melamine protective varnishes, for which the company had developed Provalin closure seals that did not use food contact materials of concern to industry, such as phthalates.
Facts concerning sustainability
Delegates at the conference were appraised of an overview of disposal channels, sorting options, material flows and facts concerning sustainability as well as discussing recycling, packaging and design solutions, and political and industrial demands.
Actega also presented examples of packaging using thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which could be used as a sealing material free of PVC and plasticisers, other food contact materials that have raised concerns about food contamination and resultant health issues.
TPEs did not provoke the same fears, were easy to process and recycle and complied with maximum demands on bio-compatibility, international standards, food conformity and legal security, said Actega.