FoodFacts.com knows that our community is educated about and very aware of the presence of BPA in plastics and canned food products. BPA (Bisphenol A) is used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins. It’s been used commercially since 1957 and is commonly used in manufacturing water bottles, sports equipment, CDs, DVDs and the lining of water pipes. It’s also used in the production of thermal paper. And it still coats the inside of many food and beverage cans.
BPA has been found to exhibit hormone-like properties at high levels. There has been great concern regarding its use in both consumer products and food packaging. A 2010 FDA report identified possible dangers to fetuses, infants and young children related to BPA exposure. In 2012, the FDA officially banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging. Since, that time many manufacturers have begun using BPA-free cans, but unfortunately more manufacturers are still using packaging that includes BPA.
Earlier this month, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported that its scientific experts have concluded that for all population groups, diet is the major source of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA). EFSA added that consumers’ exposure to BPA is considerably lower than the agency had estimated in 2006—about 30 times lower for infants, and approximately 11 times lower for adults. It was noted that scientists found dietary exposure to BPA to be the highest among children aged three to 10 (explainable by their higher food consumption on a body weight basis). Canned food and non-canned meat and meat products were identified as the major source of BPA exposure for all age groups.
This new report was the EFSA’s first review of BPA exposure since 2006 and the first time that the report covered both dietary and non-dietary sources (including thermal paper and environmental sources).
The American Chemistry Council commented on the new report from the EFSA. The Council stated that this information reaffirms that the levels of BPA exposure from all sources are very low and well within safe levels established by government regulators for infants, children and adults. They reiterate that major government agencies worldwide, including our own FDA, have determined that BPA is safe as it is currently used.
While the EFSA is standing by the safety of BPA and the U.S. FDA has reiterated its safety, many consumers are uncomfortable using food products whose packaging contains the chemical. FoodFacts.com knows that many in our community actively seek out products from brands who have stated that they are now only using BPA-free packaging. Based on the report from the EFSA and the comments from the American Chemistry Council, it does appear that we will have to continue to proactively ensure that the food products we purchase are free of BPA. Government agencies aren’t looking to restrict the use of the chemical any further than they already have. We’ll continue to report on any further developments regarding BPA in our food packaging. In the meantime, our own awareness is our best defense against the chemicals in our food supply we seek to avoid.