The FDA has reportedly agreed to reconsider the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate, metal can coatings, and other food-contacting materials. This is a response to a petition filed by a coalition of healthcare professionals, scientists, and public health and environmental organizations and will come to a final decision on its safety by Oct. 31, 2022, according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Expert Panel found that “harmful effects from BPA exposure can occur at levels tens of thousands times lower than previously thought,” said Maricel Maffini, co-author of the petition who holds a doctorate in biological sciences, reports the EDF. “These studies show that extremely low exposures to BPA can lead to an overactive immune system likely producing out-of-control inflammation. This inflammation can then trigger wheezing and asthma-like effects.”
BPA is typically found in polycarbonate and epoxy resins. Most Americans get 5,000 times more BPA in their daily diet than the EFSA expert panel says is safe, noted Tom Neltner, EDF Senior Director, Safer Chemicals.
The petition has been signed by Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund, Consumer Reports, the Endocrine Society, the Environmental Working Group, and Healthy Babies Bright Futures.
In 2012, FDA restricted the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, although it has maintained that the current low levels of BPA found in some food are safe.
Advocates for restricting the use of BPA cite health concerns resulting from the chemical seeping into food and beverages. “Exposure to BPA is a concern because of the possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children. It can also affect children’s behavior. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” writes the Mayo Clinic on its website.
Nevertheless, BPA substitutes are far from perfect. As reported in PlasticsToday in July 2019, a study has linked bisphenol S and bisphenol F to a potential increase in childhood obesity. However, none of these substitutes has been studied as extensively as BPA A, so there may well be other health impacts associated with them.