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Was müssen Sie über BPA wissen?

von NFI Redaktion

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used in many everyday household items. The European Union banned its use in baby bottles and food and drink containers for children under 3 years old in 2011. In 2020, the European Union also banned its use in thermal paper receipts.

The European Commission is now seeking feedback from citizens, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders on a regulation to ban BPA in food contact materials, such as rigid plastic food and beverage containers and the lining of food and beverage cans. There is concern that BPA can leach into food and be ingested, leading to health issues. Evidence suggests it can impact the immune system, disrupt hormones, and trigger allergic reactions.

The proposed new ban follows a scientific assessment published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Magnus Løfstedt

… we are all likely exposed to BPA above the safe threshold.

EFSA scientific officer Cristina Croera led EFSA’s assessment of BPA. She told Medscape Medical News, „Dietary exposure to BPA is a health concern for consumers of all ages. We have conducted a comprehensive scientific review of the evidence to reach this conclusion, taking into account contributions from a public consultation. We observed an increase in the percentage of BPA affecting a type of white blood cell called T-helper 17 in the spleen of mice. T-helper cells play a key role in our cellular immune mechanisms, and such an increase could lead to the development of allergic pneumonia and autoimmune diseases.“

Photo of Cristina Croera
Cristina Croera

Following a review of current studies, EFSA revised the safe limits for BPA levels in the body, reducing its estimation of a tolerable daily BPA intake from 4 mg/kg body weight per day to 0.2 ng/kg/day. This threshold is 20,000 times lower than EFSA’s previous assessment in 2015.

However, most Europeans could exceed this limit. The European Environment Agency (EEA) reported last fall that 92% of participants in a European study had BPA in their urine.

Magnus Løfstedt, an EU chemicals, environment, and health expert, said Medscape Medical News that the study examined the concentration of BPA in urine collected as part of a large European human biomonitoring project from 11 countries. Urine levels were compared to the recently revised European safety threshold. „The results showed that we are all likely exposed to BPA above the safe threshold,“ he said.

Health Damage Signs

Professor Nicolas Olea from the University of Granada, Spain, has been studying the effects of chemicals on the human body for 30 years.

Photo of Professor Nicolas Olea
Professor Nicolas Olea

He told Medscape Medical News, „Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor, whose toxicity and harmful effects have been repeatedly demonstrated in numerous studies.“

Løfstedt added that it has been known for years that BPA can impair fertility and disrupt the hormonal system. However, it was only recently discovered that BPA, even in very small amounts, influences the immune system, particularly cells crucial for the development of certain autoimmune diseases like asthma.

Olea welcomed the EU ban. „It is naive, if not foolish, to ban BPA from food containers and baby bottles for children under 3 years while allowing adult women of childbearing age or pregnant women to continue to be exposed to toxins, knowing it permeates into food. the embryo and fetus.“

Different Views

However, not everyone agrees with EFSA’s assessment. According to the European Medicines Agency and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, there is insufficient scientific evidence for the EFSA-recommended tolerable daily dose.

Løfstedt explained that both authorities argue there is no certainty that an increase in immune cells leads to autoimmune diseases.

Croera from EFSA added, „Different scientists may have differing views on methods and approaches. This is a normal part of the scientific process, and as such, science progresses and evolves. EMA [the European Medicines Agency] and EFSA have explained the differences in a joint document, as required by EU law, to inform EU legislators about their decision-making. The fact that there are differing views on methodology does not mean consumer health is at risk.“

Impact on the Industry

If the ban is adopted, there is concern that manufacturers may replace BPA with similar chemicals like Bisphenol S, which could also have negative health effects.

„There is still a need to develop various alternatives to replace BPA in different applications,“ said Løfstedt. „In this context, it is very important to look for Bisphenol-free alternatives to avoid regrettable substitution.“

A ban would have significant labor and cost-intensive impacts on the food packaging industry, which would need time to make the necessary changes.

Olea said, this should not be a consideration: „The only thing keeping it going is commercial interests that do not take into account the costs of the damage caused. I would deeply regret it if the younger generations, born in the 21st century, accuse us of not acting with the necessary care and honesty.“

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