Australian report on Bisphenol A

Parliament house flag post

Australian report on Bisphenol A

Posted 15/11/2010 by Roger Beckmann

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released its report on Bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging and the risks to consumers. The compound BPA has a controversial history. It is suspected of being an endocrine disruptor (a chemical that mimics some of the natural hormones of the human body). It can also be directly toxic at high enough doses. More recent studies have found a range of other possible adverse effects from BPA, but this research is still preliminary and subject to confirmation.

Some materials containing BPA have been banned in some countries (i.e. Canada), and there have been suggestions that Australia should follow suit. On 30 June 2010, the Australian Government announced the voluntary phase out by major Australian retailers of polycarbonate plastic baby bottles containing BPA.

BPA is a synthetic organic compound used in some food packagings, and particularly within the lining of cans where it stops the food coming into contact with the metal. It can also be found in polycarbonate (hard) plastics, such as baby bottles. BPA can migrate from these materials into foodstuffs, but the toxicity of any substance depends on the dose. So two questions must be answered:
  • What is a safe quantity of BPA that can be ingested by people of different ages with no ill effects, if indeed there is a safe quantity?
  • What is the concentration of BPA actually present in foodstuffs, and therefore how much BPA would Australians typically consume?
The first question has been examined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Food and Drug Administration which concluded that a tolerable daily intake (sometimes called a maximum safe exposure) of BPA would be 0.05 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. WHO has recently finished another examination of BPA and concluded that the substance does not accumulate in humans, and is rapidly eliminated in the urine.

To answer the second question – about how much is present in the Australian diet – FSANZ has tested various foods, including infant foods. The consumer association Choice had previously done its own survey and analysis. FSANZ found BPA at very low concentrations in some foodstuffs. There was considerable variation in the quantities between different foodstuffs, and in different items of the same foodstuff. However, FSANZ concluded that 'levels of intake of BPA are very low and do not pose a significant human health risk for any age group.' To illustrate this point, it has calculated that, just to reach the maximum safe level, 'a 9-month old baby weighing 9 kg would have to eat more than 1 kg of canned baby custard containing BPA every day, assuming that the custard contained the highest level of BPA found [in the survey].'

The European Food Safety Authority has also recently issued a statement, in which it concludes that BPA maximum exposure of 0.05 milligrams per kilogram of body weight remains safe – i.e. that exposures to concentrations lower than this need not be of concern. Not everyone agrees. Denmark has introduced a temporary ban on BPA from 1 July 2010 for materials that are in contact with foodstuffs designed for infants up to the age of 3 years. However, this was on the basis of an assessment conducted by the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark, which studied the exposure of laboratory rats to BPA­­ – so these results may not be applicable to humans.

The FSANZ report makes the following comment:
FSANZ acknowledges that there are some unresolved uncertainties in the data on BPA, and notes that further studies are currently being conducted in the US to address these uncertainties.
FSANZ has said it will assess these new studies when they become available. Full details of the new FSANZ analysis can be found here.

(Image sourced from: http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201009/r632111_4314846.jpg)


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

immigration refugees elections taxation asylum Parliament criminal law Indigenous Australians election results Australian Bureau of Statistics social security disability citizenship income management political parties United Kingdom UK Parliament Census statistics banking early childhood education Middle East Australian foreign policy OECD Australian Electoral Commission voting mental health Employment welfare by-election election timetable China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament Productivity Defence asylum seekers High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title Senate ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories leadership aid Papua New Guinea emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding Electoral reform politics refugees immigration asylum Canada procurement Australian Public Service firearms Indigenous health constitution High Court e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament women 2015 International Women's Day public policy ABS Population Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade skilled migration Private health insurance Medicare Financial sector EU national security fuel China soft power education violence against women domestic violence Fiji India Disability Support Pension disability employment welfare reform Tasmania Antarctica China Diplomacy Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency Sport ASADA Federal Court WADA ADRV by-elections state and territories terrorism terrorist groups Bills corruption anti-corruption integrity fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform science innovation research and development transport standards Afghanistan Australian Defence Force NATO United States social media Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism higher education Higher Education Loan Program HECS welfare policy pensions social services ASIO Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Australian Secret Intelligence Service intelligence community Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 sexual abuse online grooming sexual assault of minors labour force workers

Show all
Show less
Back to top