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Lower daily dose of bisphenol A in food is recommended by the European Food Safety Agency

Expert panel cites new studies showing potential harm to the immune system

by Britt E. Erickson
April 21, 2023

Chemical structure of bisphenol A.

Bisphenol A (BPA) in food is a greater health risk than previously thought, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says in a reevaluation published April 19. The EFSA is recommending a daily intake level of 0.2 ng/kg of body weight per day, down from 4 µg/kg/day.

Regulators have been scrutinizing BPA for years because of potential reproductive, developmental, and metabolic effects. EFSA experts say they’ve now identified potentially harmful effects on the immune system.

“In the studies, we observed an increase in the percentage of a type of white blood cell, called T helper, in the spleen,” Claude Lambré, chair of the EFSA’s Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids, says in a statement. “They play a key role in our cellular immune mechanisms and an increase of this kind could lead to the development of allergic lung inflammation and autoimmune disorders.”

BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastics, which are found in some food storage containers and beverage bottles. The chemical is also used in epoxy resins that are found in protective liners inside some food cans. BPA can migrate in small amounts from food packaging into food, the EFSA says.

It is now up to the European Commission and member states to set appropriate limits on how much BPA can migrate into food from food packaging to protect public health. The EFSA’s advice on a tolerable daily intake will inform those discussions.

“The revised tolerable daily intake reflects a large foundation of scientific information demonstrating that even exposure to extremely low levels of BPA can cause a variety of harmful effects, including on endocrine systems,” Anne-Simone Parent, spokesperson of the Endocrine Society and a neuroendocrinology professor at the University of Liège, says in a statement. “As researchers studying the impact of BPA and other chemicals on the body’s hormones, we are encouraged to see EFSA recognize the need for urgent action to limit our exposure and protect public health.”



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