The European Food Safety Authority has held consultations with national experts from across Europe, as well as several international risk assessment authorities, on the subject of bisphenol A. BPA is widely used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, including materials which come into contact with food, and has been linked to a number of possible health problems.
The first meeting took place at EFSA’s headquarters in Parma, Italy, on Friday 26 March. It was attended by 25 experts nominated by 19 European countries, as well as members of EFSA’s scientific Panel on food contact materials (CEF Panel) and representatives of the European Commission.
At the meeting, EFSA outlined the draft opinion on BPA which is currently being prepared by the CEF Panel, as well as the initial findings of its review of recent scientific literature in this area. Panel members stressed that all relevant scientific information will be critically analysed to determine its importance to the safety assessment of BPA.
Experts from Denmark, France and Germany presented their recent or ongoing assessments of BPA at the meeting, which gave participants the opportunity to contribute any other relevant information. The main issues discussed included the design of scientific studies on BPA, toxicological aspects and the strengths and weaknesses of certain individual studies.
Similar issues – as well as details of new risk assessments and studies being carried out around the world – were also discussed with the US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the Food Safety Commission of Japan and the World Health Organisation during a telephone conference on Monday 29 March.
EFSA’s two independent scientific outputs on BPA are due to be finalised by the CEF Panel at its next plenary meeting in late May. EFSA is promoting dialogue with its national and international partners on this issue to ensure that European-level advice is based upon the most up-to-date and reliable information possible.
A published scientific opinions on BPA in January 2007 and July 2008. In October 2009, EFSA received a further request from the European Commission to assess the relevance of a new study on possible neurodevelopmental effects of BPA. EFSA was also asked to assess any other new scientific evidence which may have an impact on its previous risk assessments on BPA.