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FDA findings on BPA heighten concerns about safety

May 26, 2011

New FDA Findings on Bisphenol-A in Canned Food
Heighten Concerns about Safety

Consumers Union Urges FDA to Remove BPA
from Food & Beverage Containers

Yonkers, NY—Consumers Union (CU), the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, today stated that the recent findings of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in canned foods published by researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (May 20, 2011) raise increased concerns about exposure to the chemical. The highest levels of BPA found in the FDA study were almost four times higher than the highest levels detected in a similar but smaller study published in Consumer Reports in 2009. CU continues to urge FDA to act immediately to remove BPA from food and beverage containers.
The FDA study of frequently consumed canned foods confirms Consumer Reports’ findings that BPA levels can vary widely from can to can including among different lots of the same type of canned food. “Consumers have no idea how much BPA they may be exposed to from any given can,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director of Technical Policy at CU.
But the highest levels in the FDA study increase CU’s concerns about health impact. “As we previously reported, just one to a few servings of some of these foods can expose consumers, especially children, to levels of BPA that have caused harm in animal studies,” Dr. Rangan said. “We believe this is an unacceptably slim margin of safety and that consumers should not have to ingest BPA.”
The FDA’s previous estimates of how much BPA consumers are exposed to daily from canned foods, which are not discussed in this new study, should be reassessed to reflect the levels that FDA has now found in canned foods, according to CU. The current Cumulative Exposure Daily Intake (CEDI) level of 0.185ug/kg-bw/day (the level the FDA assumes most people will eat each day) could easily be exceeded by just one or a few servings of the canned foods tested by FDA. CU also urges FDA to take into account the relatively higher exposures that would occur in children due to their relatively lower weight.
CU believes that the large body of independent scientific literature clearly demonstrates reason for concern and the need for public health policy action at this time. According to CU, the basis for FDA’s safety limit of 50ug/kg-bw/day is outdated and does not reflect the current body of scientific knowledge; ample evidence exists for establishing a more protective safety limit. CU continues to advise consumers to choose fresh or frozen foods whenever possible and to lower their consumption of canned foods.
Nine states and several municipalities have already taken steps to phase out BPA from children’s products. BPA-ban legislation is also pending in 12 states. The California Assembly passed a bill this week that would ban BPA in children’s food contact products, baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula and baby food containers. CU urges the California Senate to pass the bill expeditiously, so that California can begin to protect its most vulnerable consumers. CU also urges federal action to ban BPA in all food and beverage containers so that all consumers will be protected.

Naomi Starkman, 917.539.3924-c