The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a public consultation on its draft assessment of the human health risks posed by bisphenol A (BPA). According to a January 17, 2014, press release, the agency has recommended temporarily lowering the current tolerable daily intake (TDI) for BPA from its current level of 50 µg/kg bw/day to 5 µg/kg bw/day over concerns that expo- sure to the substance is likely to adversely affect the liver and kidney, in addition to affecting the mammary gland.

EFSA’s Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavorings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel) apparently arrived at the new TDI after reviewing more than 450 studies related to the potential health hazards associated with BPA. The draft scientific opinion also considers “the possible effects of BPA on the repro- ductive, nervous, immune, metabolic and cardiovascular systems, as well as the development of cancer,” concluding that these effects—while not likely at present—are still “of potential concern to human health and they add to the overall uncertainty about the risks of the substance.”

“The risk assessment of BPA has been hugely complex. EFSA concludes there is an estimated safe level of exposure to BPA—known as the TDI—but has reduced this and set it on a temporary basis because of continuing uncertainties over the risks posed by the chemical,” said CEF Panel Chair Iona Pratt. “Our experts have identified health hazards associated with exposure to BPA. However, we say the risk to human health is low because consumer exposure to BPA is below the temporary TDI (t-TDI). While we have analyzed the best available evidence using state-of-science methods, we recognize that understanding in these areas is constantly advancing. Therefore our conclusions are as definitive as they can be in light of current data.”

EFSA has requested input on the draft assessment from the public, stakeholders and “national risk assessment bodies that have previously evaluated BPA” by March 13, 2014. The European Chemicals Agency has also reportedly received a proposal from French authorities to restrict the use of BPA in cash register receipts and other thermal paper applications under REACH (Regulation No. 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals). Additional details about EFSA’s draft assessment of consumer exposure to BPA appear in Issue 492 of this Update. See Bloomberg BNA, January 24, 2014.