|Bisphenol A Myths
Myth: A harmful amount of BPA gets into your food from storage in polycarbonate food containers.
Reality: Many studies have measured the amount of bisphenol A (BPA) that can migrate in tiny amounts into foods and beverages from polycarbonate containers. The measured amounts are minute, and well below safety standards set by government regulatory agencies around the world. In fact, a consumer would have to ingest more than 1,300 pounds of food and beverages in contact with polycarbonate plastic each day just to reach the safe intake level set by the European Food Safety Authority.
Extensive data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that typical human exposure to BPA from all sources, including from food stored in polycarbonate containers and bottles, is approximately 1,000 times below the safe intake level recently set by the European Food Safety Authority. Government bodies around the world have concluded that these levels do not pose a risk to human health.
Many researchers have studied the potential for trace levels of BPA to migrate from polycarbonate into food and beverages under conditions typical for uses of polycarbonate products. These studies include ones conducted by government agencies in the US, Europe and Japan, as well as studies conducted by academic researchers and by industry.
The studies varied in terms of the articles tested, which included baby bottles, water bottles, tableware, molded disks and cut pieces; the type of food in contact with the container; and the specific time and temperature conditions used. Considered together, these studies cover a complete range of polycarbonate food contact products and use conditions, which provides reassurance that the collective results fully represent the potential migration of BPA into foods and beverages.
The studies generally show that, under typical use conditions, human exposure to BPA from food-contact use of polycarbonate plastic is very low and poses no known risk to human health. Some of the most notable examples include studies conducted by the:
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on baby bottles, water bottles and cut portions of baby bottles under "typical/normal use" conditions (Biles, J.A., T.P. McNeal, T.H. Begley and H.C. Hollifield, 1997, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 45, pages 3541-3544);
- U.K. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) on baby bottles subjected to as many as 30 cycles of cleaning, sterilizing and simulated use (Mountfort, K.A., J. Kelly, S.M. Jickells and L. Castle, 1997, Food Additives and Contaminants, vol. 14, pages 737-740);
- U.K. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Consumer Affairs Directorate on baby bottles handled under "realistic worst-case conditions of use" (Earls, A. O., C. A. Clay, and J. H. Braybrook, 2000, "Preliminary Investigation into the Migration of Bisphenol A from Commercially-Available Polycarbonate Baby Feeding Bottles," Final Report prepared by LGC Consumer Safety Team for the Consumer Affairs Directorate, Department of Trade and Industry, May 2000);
- Japanese National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) on tableware and baby bottles under conditions representative of normal consumer use (Kawamura, Y., Y. Koyama, Y. Takeda and T. Yamada, 1998, "Migration of Bisphenol A from Polycarbonate Products," Journal of Food Hygiene, vol. 99, pages 206-212; translated by Schreiber Translations, Rockville, MD - PDF.); and
- Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) on polycarbonate discs under the most rigorous conditions recommended by FDA (Howe, S.R. and L. Borodinsky, 1998, "Potential Exposure to Bisphenol A from Food-Contact Use of Polycarbonate Resins," Food Additives and Contaminants, vol. 15, pages 370-375.).
The use of polycarbonate plastic for food contact applications has been and continues to be recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Food, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and other regulatory authorities worldwide.
Watch as Steve Hentges, Ph.D., from the American Chemistry Council discuss CDC studies on BPA exposure.
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