Bisphenol A (BPA) is back in the news again. Health Canada recently conducted a study on BPA and pregnancy, which found that dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.
The study, titled "Phthalate and bisphenol A exposure among pregnant women in Canada - Results from the MIREC study," was published in the July issue of the scientific journal Environment International. The study closely examined phthalate and Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure among pregnant Canadian women.
Health Canada called the results of the study "significant."
"They provide much-needed information on the levels of phthalates and BPA present in one of our most susceptible subpopulations, pregnant women, as well as a basis for continued monitoring," they wrote.
The MIREC study is a key deliverable under the Government of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, which strengthens efforts to help protect Canadians' health and environment from the risks of harmful chemicals. The study, which is hosted at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, is co-funded by Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
Here are some key news items about Canada and BPA:
- In 2010, Canada was the first country in the world to prohibit the manufacturing, importing, advertising, or sale of polycarbonate baby bottles that contain BPA.
- BPA and Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) are both included on Health Canada's list of prohibited and restricted cosmetic ingredients.
- In 2010, Health Canada introduced the Phthalates Regulations that restrict the use of six phthalates in toys and child care articles in order to limit exposure to children and infants.
- Health Canada continues to place a high priority on the timely evaluation of pre-market submissions for BPA-free can coatings. A number of BPA-free can coatings have been assessed by Health Canada and deemed acceptable for packaging liquid infant formula, which are now widely available on the market.
- In 2012, Health Canada updated its assessment of BPA exposure from food sources, which provided a more refined and detailed estimate of dietary exposure to BPA in Canada. Based on the overall weight of evidence, Health Canada continues to conclude that dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.
Shortly after Health Canada released its findings, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) sent out this comment from Steven Hentges of ACC's polycarbonate/BPA global group.
"With important new research results in hand, Health Canada once again reaffirmed its position on the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) in its press release today, stating 'Based on the overall weight of evidence, Health Canada continues to conclude that dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children,'" he said.
"The biomonitoring study measured exposure of a large group of pregnant Canadian women to BPA," he continued. "While acknowledging that exposure to BPA is expected, the Health Canada study found BPA at lower average levels and in a lower percentage of women, compared to the overall Canadian population. These results indicate that typical exposure to BPA for pregnant women is more than a thousand times lower than the safe intake level established by Health Canada."
[Remember, BPA is a synthetic estrogen used to produce polycarbonate (PC) polymers and epoxy resins. The chemical has faced controversy due to studies linking BPA to an array of adverse health effects, including cancer, obesity, abnormal brain development and reproductive problems.]
"The results are consistent with similar studies conducted in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Health Canada's current perspective on BPA is very consistent with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)," Hentges said. "Earlier this year, FDA scientists published the results of a large-scale government-funded study demonstrating that low-dose exposure to BPA did not result in the development of adverse health effects. These most recent scientific results provide strong additional support for FDA's recent response to the question: 'Is BPA safe?' FDA answered with one word: 'Yes.'"