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

refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament climate change elections women social security Indigenous Australians Australian Bureau of Statistics Employment Sport illicit drugs people trafficking taxation Medicare welfare reform Australian Defence Force higher education welfare policy United Nations Asia income management Middle East criminal law disability Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget health financing gambling school education forced labour aid statistics Australian Electoral Commission WADA emissions trading Australia in the Asian Century steroids detention Private health insurance OECD ASADA labour force transport Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Industrial Relations people smuggling dental health National Disability Insurance Scheme Australian Crime Commission slavery Senate election results Papua New Guinea Australian Public Service International Women's Day corruption Afghanistan Fair Work Act child protection debt federal election 2013 parliamentary procedure poker machines ALP New Zealand Newstart Parenting Payment 43rd Parliament political parties Census constitution High Court skilled migration voting Federal Court terrorist groups Higher Education Loan Program HECS youth paid parental leave Aviation environment foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability customs doping health crime health risks multiculturalism aged care Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery sea farers Special Rapporteur leadership United Kingdom UK Parliament Electoral reform politics banking firearms public policy violence against women domestic violence mental health China ADRV terrorism social media pensions welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation governance public service reform Carbon Pricing Mechanism carbon tax mining military history employer employee fishing by-election European Union same sex relationships international relations coal seam gas family assistance planning United Nations Security Council Australian economy food vocational education and training Drugs Indonesia children codes of conduct terrorist financing money laundering Productivity asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Population Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity science research and development Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse federal state relations World Trade Organization Australia accountability housing affordability bulk billing water renewable energy children's health health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation expertise Senators and Members climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry food labelling Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets health reform Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government local government consumer laws PISA royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition Parliamentary remuneration health system Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol energy forced marriage rural and regional Northern Territory Emergency Response ministries social citizenship human rights citizenship Defence High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories workers Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation standards NATO Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly public health smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine regional unemployment asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies trade unions same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders public housing prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines Somalia GDP forestry world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission regulation limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders animal health live exports welfare systems infant mortality middle class welfare honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Constitutional reform referendum Rent Assistance competition policy pharmaceutical benefits scheme obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant homelessness regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Youth Allowance Members suspension citizen engagement policymaking federal election 2010 workplace health and safety Trafficking in Persons Report marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament alcohol Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act entitlements political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing Hung Parliament political education social inclusion Social Inclusion Board maritime early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin Iran sanctions Norway hospitals

Show all
Show less
Back to top