Chemical found in plastic products poses no health risks

Food Safety Authority of Ireland welcomes discovery that BPA is safe for any age group

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has welcomed a finding that the chemical Bisphenol A poses no health risk to consumers of any age.

The compound, known as BPA, is found in plastic tableware, cans and thermal paper till receipts and has been linked with everything from cancer to obesity to infertility.

Now the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has carried out a re-evaluation of the compound and concluded BPA poses no health risk to consumers, or unborn babies, because current exposure to the chemical is too low to cause harm.

A spokeswoman for the FSAI said the finding was welcome. “It provides the scientific clarity regarding the fact that BPA poses no health risks to consumers of any age at current exposure levels,” she said.

Research has found small amounts of packaging materials can migrate into food and can be consumed with it.

Traces of BPA have been found in urine, breast milk and the blood of pregnant women.

US manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups stopped using the chemical because of safety concerns several years ago.

In 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration amended its regulations so the chemical could no longer be used in baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging. However, the agency said it found no grounds for a wider ban.

Safe level lowered

Despite the finding that it posed no risk, the EFSA said it was lowering the estimated safe level, known as the tolerable daily intake (TDI). It said it was doing this because the method used to assess the risk from BPA had become more refined.

The new estimated safe level is 12½ times lower than the previous level.

The evaluation found that, based on animal studies, ingesting BPA at more than 100 times the tolerable daily intake was likely to cause adverse effects in the kidney and liver.

It was also likely to have effects on the mammary glands of rodents.