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HEALTH

July 2018

Exposed to Bisphenol F in Mustard (Again), But Still Feeling Fine?


July 2018

It's a hot, summer afternoon, and the thought of a hot dog with plenty of relish and mustard is too good to pass up. Add some chips, a fresh garden tomato and a large glass of iced tea -- seems like a perfect summer lunch. It would be perfect, except for Bisphenol F (BPF). In two recent scientific publications, German and Swiss government scientists reported that BPF is naturally present at significant levels in most mustards. Should you be worried?

Since BPF is naturally present in mustard, and people have been eating mustard for centuries, you might be inclined to conclude that it must be safe. But the chemical similarity between BPF and Bisphenol A (BPA) is striking. To the casual observer, they might even appear to be the same (see their chemical structures nearby).

In fact, BPA and BPF are not just chemically similar; it's been known for many years that both are weakly estrogenic. Based largely on that biological property, Bisphenol A has been intensively studied by scientists worldwide, and has been controversial due to claims it causes health effects at low exposure levels.

Though Bisphenol F has received much less scientific attention, it would be reasonable to assume that if BPA causes health effects, it is likely that BPF would also cause health effects. And that reasonable assumption is exactly why it's reasonable not to worry about repeated exposure to BPF over many years.

To explain why, let's consider what we now know about the potential for BPA to cause health effects. Earlier this year, the results of the CLARITY Core study were released by the U.S. National Toxicology Program. The study, which was conducted by senior scientists with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in FDA's own laboratory, was designed to resolve remaining uncertainties about the safety of BPA.

With a study of unprecedented scope and magnitude for BPA, that's exactly what was accomplished. In a statement released in conjunction with the CLARITY study report, Dr. Stephen Ostroff, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted: "our initial review supports our determination that currently authorized uses of BPA continue to be safe for consumers."

Now that we know that exposure to trace levels of BPA is safe, it would be reasonable to assume that exposure to trace levels of BPF also is likely to be safe. The scientific facts are what count; whether BPF is naturally present or not is entirely irrelevant. So if you're hungry for a hot dog – or hot pretzel -- with lots of mustard, go ahead and indulge without any BPF concerns.

 

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