The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently held a one-day meeting with scientific experts, member states and other Advisory Forum participants “to exchange each other’s previous or ongoing work related to the safety assessment of bisphenol A (BPA).” Part of the agency’s continuing BPA evaluation, the meeting covered previous risk appraisals and outlined EFSA’s “developing approach” to the next opinion scheduled for completion in May 2013. It also featured members of other EFSA committees who discussed BPA safety assessments undertaken for medical devices and industrial chemicals, as well as experts from individual countries who described their work in the following areas: (i) “human exposure to BPA”; (ii) “current levels of BPA in food and other sources”; (iii) “analytical methods”; (iv) “non-dietary sources of exposure to BPA”; and (v) “recent studies on the toxicity of BPA, including those related to reported low dose effects of BPA.”

According to EFSA, the agency decided to review its BPA data after taking into consideration new information about overall exposure to the substance from both dietary and non-dietary sources. “EFSA’s new opinion will also further evaluate uncertainties about the possible relevance to human health of some BPA-related effects observed in rodents at lose dose levels,” states an October 29, 2012, news release, which notes that EFSA plans on issuing a full report on the meeting in the near future. Additional details about the ongoing risk assessment appear in Issue 440 of this Update.

Meanwhile, Breast Cancer UK has apparently used the occasion of the meeting to call for BPA’s removal from all food and beverage packaging. The group has launched a petition requesting support for its effort, which urges the U.K. government to act without waiting for the results of EFSA’s data collection. “A Government ban on Bisphenol A in food and drinks packaging could help to reduce our daily exposure to this hormone-disrupting chemical, which could be at the bottom of why breast cancer is fast becoming an epidemic,” Breast Cancer UK Chair Clare Dimmer told reporters. “The Government must acknowledge all causes of breast cancer and cut cancer-causing chemicals.” See The Independent, October 30, 2012.