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International coalition of scientists calls for bisphenol A ban

An international group of eminent scientist has today called for the banning of bisphenol A (BPA) in food and packaging for children on precautionary grounds.

The coalition of eight experts from the UK, Italy, and the United States backed increasingly widespread demands to outlaw the chemical and use less dangerous replacements. The move is the latest evidence of growing momentum in Europe over the past six months for calls to ban the chemical. Prior to this, major campaigns against BPA were mainly being waged in North America.

“To protect vulnerable populations, we believe it would be both prudent and precautionary in public health terms if products containing BPA used for baby and children’s food and liquid packaging in the UK were withdrawn,” said the scientists in a letter to the UK newspaper, the Independent. “BPA should be replaced by less hazardous substances.”

Food contact materials containing the substance should carry warning labels, they added.

But the UK Food Standard Agency said that best scientific evidence available showed that current exposure to BPA did not pose a health risk to consumers.

Sunsetting of BPA

The scientists, who included Dr Fiorella Belpoggi, director at the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Centre, in Italy, Dr Richard Clapp, Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University in the US, and Professor Vyvyan Howard, from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, called on the UK to follow the lead of the Danish Government, which last month became the first country in Europe to introduce a temporary ban on BPA.

Denmark announced on March 26 it had decided to impose the ban for children aged 0-3 as a precautionary measure after its food safety experts raised concerns that low-level exposure to the substance may inhibit learning capacity. From 1 July, 2010, it will be illegal to sell infant feeding bottles, feeding cups and packaging for baby food containing BPA in the Scandinavian country until research conclusively demonstrates its safety.

The group of scientists said today that sweeping measures to ban BPA must be backed by efforts to develop “effective toxics use-reduction and substitution strategies by government, industry and other sectors, and the implementation of sunsetting of potentially hazardous chemicals like BPA”. The establishment of toxics use-reduction databases to provide the cost-effective means to reduce hazards and risks and maintain economic and other activity was also vital.

Scientific evidence

Andrew Wadge, the FSA’s chief scientist, said: “We will always base our advice to consumers on the best available scientific evidence. Independent scientific experts advise that current levels of exposure to BPA are not harmful.

“The EFSA review concluded that low-dose effects of BPA in rodents have not been demonstrated in a robust and reproducible way, and so cannot be used as pivotal studies for risk assessment. EFSA is currently reviewing more recent research in this area and the UK is actively involved in this. We keep our advice to consumers under constant review.”

On the same day that the Danish move was unveiled, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) held an international summit to consult EU member states on its latest research into the chemical – which is used as a hardener in polycarbonate baby bottles and the epoxy linings of food cans. The agency is due to publish an updated opinion on BPA in the summer.

Fonte – de 08 de abril de 2010

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