Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in the lining of some food and beverage packaging to protect food from contamination and extend shelf life. It’s also used in non-food products.
Small amounts of BPA can migrate into food and beverages from containers.
Some studies have raised potential concerns that BPA exposure may cause health problems. However the overwhelming weight of scientific opinion is that there is no health or safety issue at the levels people are exposed to.
Food safety authorities around the world have studied BPA and its reported effects.
In November 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the results of its most recent review of BPA, stating that it considered BPA to be safe at the levels people are exposed to. FDA experts specialising in toxicology, analytical chemistry, endocrinology, epidemiology, and other fields reviewed more than 300 studies as part of the review. Read the summary of the US FDA’s current perspective on BPA.
In January 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report on the agency's comprehensive re-evaluation of BPA exposure and toxicity. EFSA's re-evaluation concluded that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Read more about EFSA's report
Health Canada released an updated assessment of BPA in 2012 and also concluded that there were no safety issues at the levels people are exposed to.
In February 2018, the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) released a draft report of a comprehensive two-year rodent study examining the potential effects of BPA on health. This study was designed to look at the effects of BPA following chronic and/or early life exposure in two different groups of rats.
FSANZ notes that an external peer review of the draft report is scheduled to take place in April 2018. However, our initial consideration is that the findings are consistent with previous conclusions that there are no public health and safety concerns at the levels of BPA people are exposed to in food. Read more about the NTP’s draft report.
FSANZ's responses to BPA research
Is there a Tolerable Daily Intake for BPA?
The tolerable daily intake (or TDI) is an internationally established safe level for chemicals like BPA. It’s a conservative estimate of a safe level of BPA which applies to the whole population and estimates the amount of BPA in food that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk.
In other words it’s the amount that can be safely consumed per day, every day.
Extremely large amounts of foods and beverages would need to be consumed to reach the TDI for BPA. For example, a nine month old baby weighing 9 kg would have to eat more than 1 kg of canned baby custard containing BPA every day to reach the TDI, assuming that the custard contained the highest level of BPA found (420 parts per billion) in a survey by CHOICE.
What is Australia doing about BPA?
What are other countries doing about BPA?
Because of consumer concerns, some countries and some states in the US have taken action on BPA. Canada, the European Union, and selected US States/Counties have phased-out the use of BPA in some products; however the phase-outs are not supported by the risk assessment conclusions on the safety of BPA.