Bisphenol-A (BPA) frequently asked questions

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The FSA answers frequently asked questions about Bisphenol A or BPA.
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What is BPA?

BPA is a chemical compound used in the production of polycarbonate plastic food contact containers materials and in the internal coatings of some food and beverage cans.

Is BPA in food harmful?

Minute amounts of BPA can transfer from packaging into food and drinks, but independent experts have advised that these levels of exposure are not considered to be harmful. Independent studies have shown that, even when consumed at high levels, BPA is rapidly absorbed, detoxified, and eliminated from humans.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has reduced the tolerable daily intake (TDI) to address the current uncertainties surrounding the potential health effects of BPA.The current exposure to BPA from food contact materials is considerably below the new TDI and therefore is not a health concern. The TDI is the estimated quantity of a chemical substance that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without posing an appreciable risk to health.

For more information see the 'External sites' link on this page to read the latest European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Opinion on BPA.

When did EFSA publish its latest review?

In January 2015, EFSA published its latest re-evaluation of BPA exposure and toxicity. EFSA's experts concluded that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels.

 

Are there rules to protect consumers?

Yes. There is European Union legislation that specifically restricts the amount of BPA that can migrate from plastic food contact materials into food.  Additionally, the European Framework Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004 requires that all materials and articles do not transfer their constituents to food in quantities that could endanger human health.

 

Why are some people concerned about BPA?

The levels of BPA found in food from food contact materials are not a concern to health.

However, BPA is one of a large number of substances that have the potential to interact with our hormone systems, and some people claim that this means it is an 'endocrine disruptor' and that it could have effects at very low doses that are not seen at higher doses. In its 2015 opinion on BPA, EFSA’s assessed the possibility that BPA could cause adverse effects by interfering with the endocrine system, and this is taken into account in the conclusion that exposure to BPA is not a health concern.

Where can I get more information on BPA?

Contact: 
Food Additives,
Flavourings and Contact Materials Branch
Food Standards Agency Aviation House 125 Kingsway London
WC2B 6NH

Email: FoodContactMaterial@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

or the European Food Safety Authority website.