October 10, 2012

BPA Labeled “Toxic”, Research Still Inconclusive

The Canadian government upheld its previous stance on the danger of bisphenol A (BPA) in food package, even though it banned the chemical from being used in the production of baby bottles.

According to Health Canada, BPA is found in food containers, such as those of milk, water, and infant baby bottles, as well as the interior protective lining for beverage and food cans. Small traces of BPA could possibly leak into water or food due to the container, possibly exposing the consumer to the chemical. Investigators of Health Canada conducted an assessment of a number of surveys done on the concentrations of BPA in canned drink products, bottled water products, as well as soda and beer products.

“Health Canada’s announcement today once again confirms that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials,” commented Steven G. Hentges, a representative of the American Chemistry Council’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, in an article by News Medical. “This new assessment further indicates that consumers don’t need to be concerned with the minute exposures to BPA from food contact and should be confident in its safe use in everyday consumer products.

The 2012 study ranked products as giving the consumer low, average, or high BPA intake. They found that infants have the greatest exposure to BPA, but the amounts were lower than the dietary exposure assessments found in 2008 and the agency remains unchanged in its take on BPA and food packaging. In 2008, Health Canada conducted a study to review BPA. They gave particular focus to the affects of BPA on infants and exposure to BPA through the packaging for infant formulas. The group of investigators concluded that, as infant formula was the main source of nutrition for newborns the possible health risk for this population would be higher. As well, further BPA exposure would be through consumer products like polycarbonate (PC) baby bottles and tableware. Other studies noted that prenatal, postnatal, or utero exposure to BPA could possibly impact the neurobehavioral development of rodents at fetal or early postnatal life.

“To be clear, no assessment is ever ‘final,'” the agency wrote in a statement to ABC News. “Health Canada will continue to monitor the latest information around exposure to BPA and the safety of its use as a food packaging material.”

According to ABC News, two years later, Canada then issued a statement that BPA was “toxic” and prohibited it from being used in baby bottles. The action set off a chain in other countries; U.S. companies took baby bottles and sippy cups from stores and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the chemical last June.

“Our study can’t identify obesity as being caused by BPA. But in the context of increasing evidence from experimental studies, it raises further concern,” Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of environmental medicine and pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine, told ABC News.

As the research on BPA is still inconclusive, the researchers at Health Canada will keep tabs on the data sets that look at products used by newborn and infants. They hope to continue studying BPA exposure on infant. However, until there is more sufficient evidence provided, officials from Health Canada believe that the current dietary exposure to BPA via food packaging is not thought to be a health risk to the general population. They noted that other regions, like the European Union, Japan, and the United States, had supported the conclusion.

Image Credit: Nikita Rogul / Shutterstock

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