The federal agency said the results of the review confirm its previous assessment that “current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health threat to the general population”.
Health Canada said it conducted the study into 22 soft drink and 16 beer samples as part of its on-going programme to investigate potential human health effects of BPA and boost its understanding of popular exposure to the substance.
The research scrutinised levels of migration from a variety of container-types of the drinks into the beverage in a number brands on the Canadian market purchased in Ottawa in April 2009. All drinks were stored at room temperature, while beer samples were stored at 4°C. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), glass and metal cans were all evaluated.
The body said that as one of its previous studies had established that BPA was not expected to be present in high levels in canned beer products- an extensive survey “was not deemed necessary”. Only beer products sold in glass bottles and cans were chosen to analyse BPA levels and investigate the source of the substance in canned products.
The agency said the samples represented a snapshot of the markets at a specific time and its results should not be “considered as representative of the distribution of BPA in soft drinks and beer products”. No inference should be drawn from the inclusion or absence of any particular brand, it stressed, which included Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Mott, Beck, Heineken, Molson and Labatt.
BPA was detected in 20 of the 38 (52 per cent) soft drinks and beers – with levels of the chemical below the detection limit of 0.0045 µg/L in the other 18 samples. The substance was not detected in any glass bottle soft drink samples and only in one soft drink PET sample at a level of 0.018 µg/L.
But all soft drink can samples were found to contain levels of BPA ranging from 0.019µg/L to 0.21 µg/L. Low levels of BPA were similarly detected in all beer can samples – ranging from 0.081µg/L to 0.54 µg/L. The chemical was also found in one bottled beer sample at a level of 0.054 µg/L.
“The presence of BPA in canned beer samples and its absence (or lower level than canned) in bottled beer samples suggests that migration from can coatings is a source of BPA in canned beer products,” said Health Canada.
It added: “The absence of BPA in surveyed plastic and glass bottled beverage products, and its presence in all of the corresponding surveyed canned beverage products, suggests that migration from can coatings is a source of BPA in canned beverage products.”
The survey led the body to re-state its previous statement that the current dietary exposure to the chemical through food packaging did not pose a human health risk. In June, Health Canada also said that a survey into BPA levels in canned foods posed no human health risks.
Toxic substance register
The conclusions from Health Canada come as its fellow government agency Environment Canada confirmed to FoodProductionDaily.com that it would add BPA to the official List of Toxic Substances within 8-10 weeks. The body rejected calls from the American Chemistry Council that it review the proposal saying that no new compelling scientific evidence had been presented.
Recent research also confirmed that some 91 per cent of Canadians had tested positive for the presence of BPA.