EFSA poised to slash daily exposure limits for bisphenol A as EU court confirms it as ‘substance of very high concern’

EFSA is proposing to “considerably lower” the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of BPA — a chemical used to make plastics — compared to its previous assessment in 2015. EFSA’s conclusions on BPA are explained in a draft scientific opinion that is open for public consultation until 8 February 2022. All interested parties are encouraged to contribute to the consultation.

In its 2015 risk assessment of BPA, EFSA set a temporary TDI of 4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. In its draft re-evaluation of BPA, EFSA’s expert Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) has now established a TDI of 0.04 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per day, dramatically cutting the daily exposure limits by a factor of 100,000.

According to the EFSA, the lowering of the TDI is a result of the assessment of studies that have emerged in the literature since 2013 until 2018, particularly those which indicate adverse effects of BPA on the immune system.

For example, in animal studies, an increase was observed in the number of “T-helper” cells, a type of white blood cell which play a key role in cellular immune mechanisms and which when raised can lead to the development of allergic lung inflammation.

By comparing the new TDI with estimates of consumer exposure to BPA in the diet, EFSA concludes that those with both average and high exposure to BPA in all age groups exceed the new TDI, indicating health concerns.

A systematic approach

Dr Claude Lambré, Chair of the CEP Panel of experts, said: “This updated draft is the result of a thorough assessment over several years. We have used a systematic approach for selecting and appraising the available evidence. The new scientific studies that have emerged in literature have helped us address important uncertainties about BPA’s toxicity.”

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