The UK’s food watchdog has moved to reassure consumers about the safety of a chemical widely found in food packaging after Canadian authorities moved to restrict its use.
The Canadian government officially declared bisphenol-A (BPA) toxic last month and has started monitoring the exposure of 5,000 people to the chemical.
It also announced plans to ban polycarbonate infant bottles which contain BPA following concerns that potential unsafe exposure levels are lower for children than adults.
The chemical is used in the manufacture of plastics and resin, and the materials are then widely used to make many items from baby bottles to food containers and tableware.
Earlier studies linked BPA to the development of hormone sensitive tissue in mice and has prompted environmental campaigners to call for far tighter regulation of such chemicals.
But the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said UK consumers were not at risk from BPA.
A spokesman said: ‘The FSA and the European Commission have looked into the potential risks from BPA and found that exposure of UK consumers to BPA from all sources, including food contact materials, was well below levels considered harmful.
‘We are in touch with the authorities in Canada and are following closely developments there. If new findings pointed to an increase in risk from exposure to BPA then we would review our advice to consumers.’
Andrew Wadge, the FSA’s chief scientist, posted comments on his blog today saying there was ‘no conclusive evidence’ of a link between exposure to BPA and adverse trends in human reproductive health.
He wrote: ‘As a parent I realise how important it is to ensure the well-being and safety of your children.
‘This is why I welcomed the opinion by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) last year that concluded, following an extensive review, that dietary exposure to BPA, including that of infants and children, is estimated to be well below tolerable daily intake (TDI).
‘This means, in terms of BPA exposure, a three-month-old bottle-fed baby weighing 6kg would need to consume more than four times the usual number of bottles of baby formula each day before it would even reach the TDI.
‘Here at the Food Standards Agency we will, of course, be paying close attention to all the latest research as it is important that the food we eat and the food we feed our children is safe.’
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