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Health Canada reaffirms BPA 'not expected to pose health risk'

By Joe Whitworth , 03-Oct-2012

Health Canada has reaffirmed the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) and said current dietary exposure through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk.

In the agency’s update from its 2008 findings it said the conclusions of the previous assessment remain unchanged.

This is despite banning the substance from baby bottles in 2008 and Environment Canada (EC) adding it to the nationwide register of toxic substances in 2010.

Methodology

Health Canada conducted a probabilistic assessment and measured BPA concentrations in assayed foods, comprising 132 food commodities in 33 food categories, and food intakes and body weights.

In the previous assessment, the department determined Probable Daily Intakes (PDI) for BPA of 0.18 µg/kg bw/day for the general population and 1.35 µg/kg bw/day for infants.

The report drew on sources measuring the amount of BPA exposure in adults and children, from canned food and drink products, bottled water, and soft drink and beer products.

Based on the results of the probabilistic assessment, a mean exposure to BPA of 0.055 µg/kg bw/day was calculated for the general population, which is approximately three times lower than the intake calculated using migration studies conducted on epoxy-lined cans from the US market in 1995, and presented in the Department's previous health risk assessment published in August of 2008.

“The results of the probabilistic assessment demonstrate that infants, as an age group, are exposed to the greatest amount of BPA, as infants generally consume more food per unit of body weight relative to older age groups. The BPA PDI's varied from as low as 0.083 µg/kg b.w. for infants 0 to 1 month of age to as high as 0.164 µg/kg b.w. for 4 to 7 month old infants.”

Health Canada concluded that current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.

Industry reaction

Steven G. Hentges, of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Polycarbonate/BPA global group, said the assessment means consumers shouldn’t be concerned with exposure to BPA from food contact.

"BPA is one of the most thoroughly tested chemicals in the market used today and has a safety track record of 50 years. The consensus of government agencies across the world is that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials.

“Not only has the US Food and Drug Administration recently reconfirmed that it is very unlikely that BPA could cause human health effects but the European Food Safety Authority and a World Health Organization panel have also supported the continued use of BPA in products that come in contact with food."

Dr John Rost, chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA), said: “Health Canada’s assessment is based on actual exposure among all age groups from real-life food and beverage products, and should provide reassurance to consumers everywhere that BPA in food packaging is safe.”

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