November 10, 2010

WHO: BPA No Cause For Concern

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that Bisphenol-A (BPA) is mostly eliminated through urination and does not accumulate in the body.

A panel of 30 experts from Canada, the U.S. and Europe met in Ottawa to determine that the amounts of the chemical used in plastic food containers and packaging were not harmful to human health. 

The levels of BPA measured in urine were equivalent to ingested amounts of the chemical.

Levels of the chemical were "very low, indicating that BPA is not accumulated in the body and is rapidly eliminated through urine," the WHO said.

Even so, the panel concluded that "recent experimental and epidemiological studies found associations between low BPA exposure levels and some adverse health outcomes."

The WHO statement added: "Until these associations can be confirmed, initiation of public health measures would be premature."

The WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations confirmed that the primary exposure of BPA for humans is through the consumption of foods.

BPA migrates from packaging such as baby bottles and coated food cans into the food.

The panel said that non-dietary exposure, which can occur from house dust, soil, toys, dental treatments and cash register receipts, was found to be of "minor relevance."

Canada in October 2008 was the first to ban use of the chemical in baby bottles, after tests found that petroleum products can affect neural development and behavior in laboratory animals exposed to BPA in the womb or early on in life.

Over 130 studies throughout the past decade have linked even low levels of BPA to serious health problems, including breast cancer, obesity and early onset of puberty.

However, the health impact of the chemical on humans has been disputed.  The chemical is widely used in plastic water jugs, soft drink cans, hockey helmets, mobile phone housings, computers, car bumpers and other consumer products.


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