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Putting the Latest BPA Study in Perspective

Recently a peer-reviewed study appeared in Environmental Health Perspectives that suggested a significant drop in levels of bisphenol A when the study participants consumed a diet that avoided contact with BPA.

This study reflects what a number of recent studies have already proven: BPA is rapidly excreted from the body and therefore reduces any risk of toxic effects.

While this study may have sparked attention and interest from a number of safety and health-conscious zealots, its findings are not new or even newsworthy. So why am I taking time out of my busy schedule to write about this study in particular?  It’s because it’s time to set the record straight on what this study says, and others like it, actually mean to the public based on facts, rather than the sensational “headlines” without the science to prove it.

This study is small in scope (sample size of 20 participants) and does not sufficiently represent the broad U.S. population nor does it account for a diet that is moderate in consumption and rich in variety.  It should not be viewed as the definitive study regarding BPA.  It is again, one of a number of small scale studies that show little to no direct cause and effect but are used to determine further research.

To date, there is no scientific evidence of any illness, disease or adverse health effect in people attributed to a food product that used BPA as a packaging compound.  Moreover, an individual would have to consume several hundreds of cans of foods per day to exceed tolerable daily levels as established by regulatory bodies across the globe who have affirmed its safe use including:

·         World Health Organization (WHO)

·         European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

·         U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

BPA continues to be used as a safe and effective packaging component. Its use has actually increased the safety of our global food supply by keeping out harmful bacteria and microorganisms. Foods packaged utilizing the BPA technology provide safe, cost-effective opportunities for people to acquire adequate nutrition.  Given today’s economic uncertainties and food availability, it’s irresponsible to suggest every consumer only eat food with limited food packaging.

Here’s what you really need to know . . .

We all have very personal feelings about the food we eat and serve our families and loved ones.  I too understand how difficult it is to balance emerging science, sensational news and information and in this case food safety; however, it is important to understand the facts.  This study does not warrant a radical change in diet.  In this instance and always, the public is advised to maintain a healthful diet, rich in variety and consumed in moderation to maintain and sustain maximum healthfulness.


“Putting the BPA Study in Perspective” by Anthony Flood was first published March 31, 2011 in Food Insight Blog. 

© Food Safety News
  • Don Garb

    BPA causes Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome according to 2 studies, and it deforms delicate bones in the ear causing congenital deafness.

  • Michael Bulger

    This is quite an article. IFIFC (whose Board includes representatives from Pepsi, Kraft, Dannon, General Mills, Mars,) wants to take the opportunity to assure us that BPA is no reason to avoid packaged foods.
    It seems to assure us that despite BPA being an issue of concern for the National Institutes of Health, declared toxic by Canada, and banned from baby bottles in the EU, we should not worry ourselves and avoid IFIFCs packaged foods.
    There seems to be a mountain of studies showing adverse effects from BPA (even at low exposure levels). I certainly don’t claim to fully understand this highly controversial subject.
    I just think this thinly veiled food industry attempt to assure the public that “everything is all right”, and that we shouldn’t stop giving them money, sure is interesting. Does anyone remember Sen. Feinstein on the floor of the Senate, vowing to be back after she explained that the chemical companies lobbied her BPA-banning amendment out of the FSMA debate?
    I guess she needs to be careful not to upset junk-food manufacturers, as well. I thought a lot of companies were voluntarily shifting away from BPA?

  • Vicky D’Agostino

    Don – can you provide links for those studies so that everyone can compare?
    This reminds me of the Saccharine scare 30 years ago, when they found you need to consume 100 times the normal amount for it to possibly cause cancer.
    Moderation and fresh, in my opinion is the way to go. Limit exposure and you limit the problems.

  • Carah Wertheimer

    I’m confused: this study is supposed to show that BPA is not harmful, but the study itself is based on people who are eating a diet free from BPA exposure. How does demonstrating that BPA is excreted out once you stop being exposed to it prove that it is safe to continue to be exposed to it?
    Help me out here, not seeing the logic.
    More important, the BPA exposure from credit card receipts which print thermally (using heat, not ink) is exponentially, possibly up to billions of times higher, than the exposure to BPA in food packaging. Why all the fuss about this much lesser source of BPA I do not know. See links below:
    2/3/10 – Part 2 – start here …. Talks about receipts and ink
    1/27/10 – Part 1
    A sampling of the many other articles:

  • mistered
  • Politicarl

    As put forth by industry proponents of the benefits of using BPA in food packaging, it is true that it has enabled packaging that helps alleviate some problems that could lead to food-spoilage caused illnesses and deaths. It also seems to be true that people are not being made acutely ill from the minute quantities of BPA they ingest so they, therefore, are not visiting emergency rooms due to problems of BPA. And it likewise seems that people are not dropping dead from toxic overdoses of ingested BPA. Furthermore, it is true that BPA is quickly and quite efficiently flushed out of our bodies. But those are all measures of the apparent safety of BPA that are based on old and inappropriate paradigms for determining safety of such a substance. Unlike many toxins, BPA, ingested in minute amounts, does not cause acute illness or death. As such, it has appeared to be safe for us to use.
    BPA is a known hormone-like substance. There is no doubt that is can weakly mimic the effects of estrogen in animals, humans included. There is also no question that the amounts of estrogen and other hormones in our bodies are very minute, yet they produce significant effects in us in many ways, including growth and development. These minute quantities of hormones significantly affect the functioning of our systems because they are, to varying degrees, constantly present in our bodies.
    This is why the findings of current investigations into BPA as an endocrine disrupter are more significant than are the studies based on the old paradigm which are referred to by industry defenders of BPA. The new paradigm recognizes that relatively constant supplies of endocrine disruptive substances, even at minute doses, pose a previously unrecognized risk to our health and well-being. Continuous micro-doses of hormone-like substances can and do affect our bodies just as significantly as the natural micro-doses of hormones produced by our bodies. Although any particular dose may be quickly flushed out of the body, an essentially constant supply negates that flushing due to continuous resupply.
    It may be true that “there is no scientific evidence of any illness, disease or adverse health effect in people attributed to a food product that used BPA as a packaging compound.” But that is an evaluation based on the old paradigm which has become irrelevant. Scientific awareness and understanding has evolved beyond that view, and there is a growing body of evidence from multiple studies that strongly suggests our health and well-being is affected by constant micro-doses of BPA and other endocrine disruptors. It now seems that there are subtle yet significant long-term effects impacting our physical growth and development, our immune system functions, and our mental and emotional functioning. While this may not result in immediate acute illness and disease, it does lead to chronic difficulties that decrease our level of health and wellness and also increase our susceptibility to a variety of illnesses and diseases.
    At the very least, this issue deserves much more investigation, uninhibited by industry economic interests or by old-paradigm thinking. Ideally, investigations should be actively encouraged and supported by the industry and by the entire scientific community. And one ubiquitous source that has yet to be investigated is our municipal water supplies. Municipal water tanks are typically lined with BPA-based epoxy – the same kind of stuff that food cans are lined with. That means micro-doses of BPA come out of our water taps and is in all of our food, even if packaged in BPA-free containers, because all of our food is processed with, and even packed in, BPA-laced water. It has become almost impossible to avoid ingesting micro-doses of BPA.
    That is what you really need to know.

  • BPA is a known hormone-like substance. There is no doubt that is can weakly mimic the effects of estrogen in animals, humans included.
    Then when are we going to ban soybeans, carrots, and other vegetable sources of xenoestrogens?