Europe’s revolutionary BPA proposal puts more scrutiny on US regulatory inaction


If a scientific opinion recently proposed by European officials is upheld, the recommended daily dose of bisphenol-A, or BPA, in Europe will be more than a million-fold lower than what U.S. regulators say is safe.

And the change in accepted exposure would all but ensure the chemical cannot be used in any food contact products.

“There’s nothing different about the physiology of an American compared to a European,” Laura Vandenberg, a professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health & Health Sciences, told EHN. “So, if it’s hazardous in Europe, it’s hazardous for us.”

A significant gap already existed between the European Union and the U.S. in what regulators considered a safe dose of the plastic additive commonly used in everything from can linings to plastic water bottles. The draft opinion, released in December by the European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA, is “just moving it all the way to the left,” said Vandenberg. She added that their conclusion is “very solidly backed up by science,” and, in fact, has been now for at least a decade.

“And it’s really different compared to the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration],” she said.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it alters the proper functioning of our hormones, and is linked to a host of health problems, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, reproductive, nervous and immune system impacts, and behavioral problems. Scientists like Vandenberg have published studies on such health effects for decades.

So, that begs the question: How can two major regulatory bodies look at the science and come to such vastly different conclusions? Where is the disconnect?

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Environmental Health News, 10 February 2022