Canada declares B.P.A. a toxic substance

by Keith Nunes
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OTTAWA — The Canadian government has added bisphenol A (B.P.A.) to the list of chemical substances regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999. The addition allows Canadian regulators to develop a proposed regulation alleviate the risk to public health or the environmental posed by B.P.A. The announcement was published in the Oct. 13 edition of the Canada Gazette, Part II.

“The Government of Canada is a world leader in chemicals management,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s minister of health. “Our science indicated that bisphenol A may be harmful to both human health and the environment and we were the first country to take bold action in the interest of Canadians. Today’s action strengthens our efforts to protect Canadians.”

The announcement comes a few weeks after the European Food Safety Authority’s panel for Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (C.E.F.) issued a review of the scientific literature on the toxicity of B.P.A. and concluded there is no evidence that warrants changing the current tolerable daily intake for B.P.A. of 0.05 mg per kg of body weight.

The C.E.F. panel members acknowledged that some recent studies report adverse effects on animals exposed to B.P.A. during development at doses well below those used to determine the current total daily intake. The studies show biochemical changes in the central nervous system, effects on the immune system and enhanced susceptibility to breast cancer. At the same time, the studies have many shortcomings, according to the panel. At present the C.E.F. said the relevance of the findings for human health may not be assessed, though should any new relevant data become available in the future the panel said it would reconsider its opinion.

“Just days after the European Food Safety Authority once again confirmed that B.P.A. is safe for use in food-contact items, Environment Canada’s announcement is contrary to the weight of worldwide scientific evidence, unwarranted and will unnecessarily confuse and alarm the public,” said Steven G. Hentges of the polycarbonate/B.P.A. global group of the American Chemistry Council. “This puts Environment Canada at odds with the recent conclusions of E.F.S.A., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, all of which have concluded that B.P.A. is safe in contact with food.

“The decision also appears to contradict the very recent opinion of Health Canada, which stated in August that ‘the current dietary exposure to B.P.A. through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants.’”

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