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EFSA Keeps Current Limits for BPA in Place

A European Food Safety Authority panel said yesterday that after reviewing the new science on controversial bisphenol-A, the agency will not be changing current daily intake limits.

The panel, which re-reviewed the issue at the request of the European Commission, concluded that there was no new evidence that would lead them to change the current daily Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for BPA, which currently sit at .05 per kilogram of body weight.

Germany, Denmark, France, and Canada, as well as a handful of U.S. states have banned the chemical, which is widely used in food containers, from being used in baby bottles in response to a growing body of research that suggests the chemical could cause health problems at low doses.

“Following a detailed and comprehensive review of recent studies on the toxicity of [BPA] at low doses,” the panel concluded that “they could not identify any new evidence which would lead them to revise the current tolerable daily intake,” according to an announcement by EFSA yesterday.

The decision comes just a few months after dozens of non-profits and scientists in Europe called on EFSA to reduce BPA exposure, especially to infants and pregnant mothers who are “at highest risk.”

One panel scientist expressed a differing opinion, pointing to “uncertainty regarding adverse health effects below the level used to determine the current TDI,” adding that the TDI should become temporary and evolve as more research becomes available. The panel said it acknowledged that some studies have shown adverse health effects on animals exposed to BPA during development at doses below TDI, but said “the relevance of these studies cannot be accessed.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in January 2009 that it has “some concern” about the chemical, but is continuing to review the rapidly growing body of scientific evidence on the matter.  The National Institutes of Health recently launched a $30 million research initiative to study low level BPA exposure.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced federal legislation to ban BPA in all food and beverage containers last March.  She has since pledged to introduce a scaled-back measure, which would apply only to baby bottles and food containers for small children, as an amendment to the food safety bill pending in the Senate.

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