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Efsa: bisphenol A a health risk

The substance is often found in plastic food and beverage containers

Exposure to bisphenol A (Bpa) through food is a cause of concern for the health of consumers of all age groups. After a careful evaluation of the scientific evidence and in the light of the contributions received from a public consultation, the experts of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) have found possible harmful effects on the immune system.

The European Commission and national authorities will examine the appropriate regulatory measures to follow up on the findings of the EFSA opinion. Bpa is a chemical substance typically used in association with other substances to produce plastics and resins.

For example, BPA is found in polycarbonate, a type of transparent and rigid plastic that is used to produce reusable containers for water dispensers, drinks and food storage. It is also used to produce epoxies used in interior coatings and films for cans and food and beverage containers.

Chemicals such as the BPA used in containers can transmigrate in small quantities to the foods and beverages they contain. For this reason, EFSA scientists periodically review its safety in the light of new available data.

“Since our first comprehensive risk assessment of the substance (2006), our scientists have periodically and very thoroughly analyzed the safety of BPA”, said Claude Lambré , chair of the expert group on food contact materials , enzymes, flavorings and technological adjuvants (Cef group) of EFSA.

“For the review, we examined a large number of scientific publications, including over 800 new studies published since January 2013. This allowed us to orient ourselves among the considerable elements of uncertainty regarding the toxicity of Bpa - continues Lambré -. In the spleen we observed an increase in the percentage of T helper lymphocytes. These play a key role in our cellular immune mechanisms and such an increase could lead to the development of allergic lung inflammation and autoimmune diseases,” he added.

In assessing the risks, the group of experts also took into consideration other potentially harmful effects on the health of the reproductive system, the metabolic system and the development of the organism.

The European Commission and the representatives of the Member States of the European Union have the task of setting the quantitative thresholds of a chemical substance that can transmigrate from food packaging to products. EFSA's scientific opinion on BPA will now provide the arguments for debate among EU legislators regarding the appropriate regulatory measures to be taken to protect consumers.

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EFA News - European Food Agency