The EFSA, European Food Safety Authority is consulting with relevant interested parties as to the safety of Bisphenol A, which is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic which can be found in such items as reusable drinking bottles, food storage containers and in the epoxy lining of some food and drink cans.
Bisphenol A, already has an EFSA defined TDI (Tolerable Daily Intake) which is assumed to be the safe level of consumption for the average user, but following recent tests on animals and humans the EFSA are recommending this TDI level be reduced as links have been found with liver, kidney and mammary gland damage, indeed the TDI when applied to some mice using a pro rata body mass to weight ratio proved critical in some instances.
The opinion also considered possible effects of Bisphenol A on the reproductive, nervous, metabolic, immune and cardiovascular systems, as well as in the possible development of cancer. Whilst an association between BPA and these other effects is currently considered unlikely, the EFSA concludes they may be of potential concern for human health and add to the overall uncertainty about the risks of the substance.
However despite these concerns the EFSA currently considers the health risk for all population groups to be low as they envisage the new TDI to be some 3-5 times higher than the average lifetime intake, but does this study take into consideration the changes in habits such as drinking direct from the can or eating far greater levels of takeaways or pre-prepared foods than was ever the case in past generations?
Does our modern food marketplace vastly increase our exposure to these BPA contaminated substances?
Plus do current statistics make allowance for the greater prominence of heat in our pre-packaged food intake, with goods such as hot coffees, burgers and takeaways?
Do life long usage estimates allow for the far wider exposure of the young to such products not only in terms of years of consumption but also in their higher regard for fashion driven consumables of the nature under consideration?
These issues and lack of any dynamic action from the EFSA bring other questions to the fore like is reducing the TDI level merely a political gesture in the absence of commercially viable alternatives?
Who is made aware of the change in TDI, who should be responsible to notify the public of these dangers and who is targeted to make any changes to reflect the raised concerns for public safety?
Food poisoning used to be simply about protecting foods from becoming injurious to health but it would appear that such concerns should now be widened to incorporate what we believed to be safe food packaging as well.
So it is my concern that based on the evidence received, modern food packaging may be becoming as dangerous as bad food and in some ways worse as the dangers may not become apparent until much later in life.