EFSA does not change its assessment of bisphenol. Pending more certain results, perplexity and concern increase. The bottle problem

EFSA does not change its assessment of bisphenol. Pending more certain results, perplexity and concern increase. The bottle problem

The European Food Safety Authority today published the decision on the toxicity of Bisphenol A. Despite the existing uncertainties, the Panel has chosen a cautious attitude by not changing the Tolerable Daily Intake (Tdi) of 0.05 mg / kg body weight adopted in 2006 and reconfirmed in 2008. Members of the CEF Panel acknowledge that some research reports adverse effects on animals exposed to BpA during the developmental phase, at doses much lower than those used to determine the current tolerable daily dose. These studies highlight biochemical alterations of the central nervous system, effects on the immune system and an increased predisposition to breast cancer. However, experts have found several shortcomings.

“The opinion takes into account the numerous studies conducted so far – comments Alberto Mantovani, director of the food and veterinary toxicology department of the Higher Institute of Health and who contributed to the current Efsa opinion. Certainly the daily dose levels have not changed, mainly because the data are not yet sufficient to establish a correct risk assessment. The Efsa opinion identifies areas of uncertainty and the discussion remains open to future developments. On the basis of this scientific opinion, the word now passes to the European legislators, who will assess whether there is a basis for resorting to the precautionary principle and adopting measures, as some European states have done ”.

The current situation is indeed very diversified. In recent months, several countries have adopted measures to limit the use of BPA especially in plastic baby bottles as a growing amount of scientific data believes that children are particularly at risk even in the presence of very low doses. In the front row we find France which on May 10 this year banned the sale of baby bottles containing BPA, followed by England and Denmark.  Even in America, several states have banned these bottles and recently the Food and Drug Administration also issued a statement listing the health risks related to the presence of (BpA) in some plastic food containers.

The American agency has in fact modified the opinion expressed previously, on the basis of publications of the National Institute of Health (Nih) which put forward reservations on the presence of BpA in food. The issue was reported in August 2009 by the US consumer magazine Consumer Reports. The monthly in a laboratory test on some packaged foods found traces of the substance in almost all 19 products examined (fruit juices, canned vegetables, tuna, canned meat, preserves, peeled tomatoes, soups, ready meals), including organic products.

However, the country considered to be the most “extremist” is   Canada where the ban on polycarbonate bottles came into force two years ago, and in a few weeks new restrictions will be introduced with the inclusion of BPA in the list of toxic substances.

The situation in Italy has improved as now most of the bottles on sale do not contain BPA. We have brands such as Nuk, Mebby, Mam and Avent-Philips   that have been selling BpA-free bottles for years. The leading company Chicco only started in the first months of this year to combine old bottles with Bisphenol A with those that no longer contain it. Both versions are therefore currently on sale.

The board

Bisphenol A (BpA) constitutes over 70% of the plastic material known as polycarbonate, and to realize this is an annual production of   3 million tons worldwide .

It is the main component of polycarbonate used for packaging and containers, and it is also a component of epoxy-phenolic resins, used in the internal lining of metal cans for food and drinks, lids of baby food jars and glass bottles. It is also present in plastic dishes and in various food containers in domestic drinking water tanks and wine vats and is classified as an endocrine disruptor (i.e. substances that can conflict with human hormonal substances) and it can also interfere with the thyroid gland.

 “According to some studies, the BPA – explains Alberto Mantovani, director of the food and veterinary toxicology department of the Higher Institute of Health – produces estrogenic-like effects and alterations in the endocrine and immune response on the body. The issue is delicate because when evaluating the risks for the baby, in addition to the contamination due to the direct contact of the bottle with the milk, it is also necessary to consider the contribution deriving from environmental contamination due to the use of bisphenol A as an additive to plastics in many objects. For some years now, the scientific community has been calling for stricter regulation for endocrine disruptors (Ie) now considered ubiquitous contaminants. Unfortunately, the list of Ie is long and also includes, among others, the famous dioxins, flame retardants used in electronic equipment and upholstery, various pesticides. An increasing amount of scientific data believes that the fetus and the child are particularly at risk even in the presence of doses of endocrine disruptors much lower than those that cause effects in adults “.

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