Bisphenol A (BPA) has been approved for use as monomer
for the production of plastics articles in food contact such as polycarbonate and epoxy resin since 1990. Epoxy resins are widely used in food can linings to extend shelf life and protect food from contamination and spoilage. In the most recent European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA)
assessment the authority concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels.1
How safe is safe? Very safe – because of a built-in safety margin.
EFSA applied high Margins of Safety in the derivation of the safety level of Bisphenol A, the so called Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI). Based on the Human Equivalent Dose (lowest dose of BPA causing a small effect in animals translated into human organism taking into account kinetic and metabolistic differences) applied by EFSA, an additional safety factor of 150 is applied, to account for any potential uncertainties. From that basis the TDI is derived at 4 microgram/kg bodyweight/day.
How small is 8 micrograms?
If a small mint (weighing 800 milligrams) was broken into pieces each of which weighs 8 micrograms, you would have more than 100,000 tiny pieces, the naked eye could barely see.
It would take about 274 years to consume the entire mint if one piece was taken in every day, 365 days a year.
To reach the level of BPA considered safe for a daily lifelong intake one single person weighing 60 kg would have to consume about 1450 cans of beverages 3 every day.
What happens to BPA inside the human body?
We know a great deal about how BPA is processed by the human body from
extensive studies on lab animals and some studies with human volunteers. The trace amount of BPA that may be taken in through the normal daily diet
is far below a level that could cause health effects.
When ingested, BPA is absorbed through the intestinal wall. Most of the BPA
that is taken in is converted in the intestine to an inactive kind of sugar with no known biological activity. Any trace amount of BPA that remains is then converted in the liver to the same inactive substance before entering the bloodstream. The inactive sugar compound is eliminated through urine within 24 hours. In clinical studies when volunteers were exposed to much higher levels of BPA than typical, no free BPA could be detected in the bloodstream.
Consuming “external” estrogens is part of the normal diet.
We regularly consume naturally occurring estrogen-like substances,
called “phytoestrogens”, as part of our diet through vegetables like
soy beans, carrots, garlic or coffee. Only in a laboratory it is possible
to produce very low estrogen-like activity by exposure to very high
levels of BPA which can never be reached in normal daily life. Even more: It is virtually impossible for consumers to be exposed to the
amount of BPA established as safe limit by European and international
authorities via food.
More information on BPA:
Jasmin Bird Polycarbonate/Bisphenol-A Group PlasticsEurope
executive summary page 22
exposure page 28