In March 2016, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) published the results of its Total Diet Study (TDS). The FSAI has statutory responsibility in Ireland to “ensure the safety of food consumed, distributed, and produced and sold on the Irish market.”
As part of this responsibility, FSAI periodically carries out a TDS to “measure the dietary exposure of the population to particular chemicals that may pose a risk to health if taken into the body in excessive amounts.” In this new study, FSAI analyzed 147 foods and beverages representative of the normal Irish diet for a range of chemicals including various metals, essential nutrients, food additives, food contaminants, and pesticide residues.
According to FSAI, “[o]verall, the results show that the Irish population is generally not at risk from the chemical contaminants analysed in the diet.”
Included among the chemicals analyzed was bisphenol A (BPA), which is a building block chemical that is primarily used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, both of which are widely used in an array of consumer products. Epoxy resins are commonly used as protective coatings for food and beverage cans. It is generally considered that the primary source of human exposure to BPA is the diet.
The study found that BPA was detected at low levels in only 30% of the samples analyzed. The levels found in food were then combined with food consumption data to estimate total dietary intake of BPA for both average and above average consumers (97.5th percentile). Comparison of these values with the most stringent health-based guidance value for BPA in Europe led to the conclusion that “exposure to BPA is of low concern.”
The results and conclusion of the FSAI study are consistent with recent findings from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). As noted by FSAI, EFSA concluded in January 2015 that “BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels.”
Along with FSAI and EFSA, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a similar perspective on the safety of BPA. It answers the question “Is BPA safe?” with a single unambiguous word: “Yes.”