US Says BPA Safe as Europe Tightens Restrictions

26.02.2018 -

A US study has concluded that bisphenol A (BPA) is safe for consumers, just days after the European Commission further restricted the chemical’s use in certain food contact materials (FCMs).

The so-called Clarity-BPA core study – said to be the largest ever on BPA – is the result of a multi-million dollar, five-year research program conducted by scientists at the National Center for Toxicological Research at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A draft report of the survey was officially published on Feb. 23. “Our initial review supports our determination that currently authorized uses of BPA continue to be safe for consumers,” said Steven Ostroff, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

Meanwhile, in Europe, a revised regulation that lowers the specific migration limits (SMLs) for BPA, which is used to produce polycarbonate and epoxy resins for can liners, was published in the Official Journal on Feb. 14. In January, the European Parliament’s Environment, Food and Public Health committee (ENVI) rejected a proposal to fully ban BPA in food packaging, instead pledging to lower the migration limits.

Under the new EU rules, the limit for BPA in plastic food packaging is now 0.05 mg/kg compared to 0.6 mg/kg previously.

The Commission has also extended the restriction to cover coating materials used to line food and drink cans. It has set an SML of 0.05 mg/kg on the migration of BPA from varnishes and coatings used in FCMs and an SML of 0.01 mg/kg – or non-detect – on materials and articles that contain food intended for babies and children aged up to three years.

Furthermore, the revised regulation extends the ban on using BPA to make polycarbonate baby bottles to include infant “sippy” cups.

The regulation will apply from Sept. 6, 2018. However, the Commission stated that any plastic, varnished or coated materials that are lawfully placed on the market before that date may remain on the market until stocks have been exhausted.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is also reassessing BPA and is expected to reveal the outcome at the end of 2019 at the earliest.