A campaign to ban bisphenol A in the UK has been branded “misleading” by the UK plastics industry as it declared the chemical was safe for use in food packaging.
The British Plastics Federation (BPF) said products containing the chemical have been safely used for over half a century. The body said it supported the UK Food Standards Agency’s position, re-stated this week, that BPA poses no risk to human health and no further precautions are required for BPA-based food contact materials.
The BPF also criticised the call by Breast Cancer UK to ban the substance based on what campaigners said is “compelling scientific evidence”. The charity was joined by a number of other health campaigners and academics in urging the Government to outlaw BPA in baby bottles.
“The campaign by Breast Cancer UK is misleading and based upon a selective use of evidence”, said Philip Law, BPF Public and Industrial Affairs Director.
The organisation also challenged the Breast Cancer UK survey based on 2,101 adults that found 61 per cent of people believed the Government should act to BPA use in infant bottles. It said the review is not a good basis for assessing public feeling on BPA as it features leading questions and a preamble that presupposes risks associated with BPA.
Law said: “BPA is one of the most widely studied compounds in the world. Consumer products made with BPA are safe for their intended uses and pose no known risks to human health. This is confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other regulatory bodies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare”.
But BPA opponents cite the growing body of research that has linked the chemical to a raft of serious health problems, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The UK campaign has urged a ban on precautionary grounds.
BPA is used primarily as an intermediate in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, which are used in a wide range of consumer and industrial applications – including baby bottles, children’s sippy cups and food can linings.
Its continued use in food contact materials has become a subject of intense debate, particularly in North America. In the United States, a number of states have already banned its use in food packaging targeted at children under three. The FDA was due to deliver a final ruling on its safety this week – but failed to meet its own deadline. The Canadian Government is expected to pass into law by the end of this year a ruling to outlaw the import and sale of the chemical for use in baby bottles.