Bisphenol-A Is Safe for Humans, Government Study Concludes

Published October 9, 2008

A comprehensive study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reports products containing the chemical bisphenol-A are completely safe for human use.

The new findings, released July 23, authoritatively contradict the assertions of anti-chemical activists seeking to ban bisphenol-A in cities and states across the U.S.

Human Body Unaffected

After extensive study, an expert panel of scientists found potentially negative health complications of bisphenol-A identified in laboratory rats are not applicable to humans. The rats were fed much more bisphenol-A than humans can encounter, and the human body metabolizes and eliminates bisphenol-A much more efficiently than rats do.

Bisphenol-A poses no health threats to even the most vulnerable of human populations, such as infants, the elderly, and fetuses, EFSA scientists concluded.

Activists Seeking Bans

Environmental activists have recently argued bisphenol-A, which gives many plastics their desired texture and flexibility, should be banned from some or all consumer products, such as baby bottles and children’s toys, because the chemical might leech from the plastic and be accidentally ingested. Bills to ban bisphenol-A have been introduced in numerous state legislatures and municipalities and have very nearly become law in California and Minnesota.

The EFSA study confirms the findings of numerous other studies of bisphenol-A. While giving laboratory rats extremely high doses of bisphenol-A has resulted in an increase in some negative health factors, no link has ever been shown between human health and real-world exposure to bisphenol-A.

Acknowledging these scientific results, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and many other government and scientific entities have long assured people bisphenol-A is not a threat to human health.

Despite the evidence, politicians continue to take advantage of the discredited health scare. In June 2008 Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) proposed a national ban on the use of bisphenol-A in food and beverage containers.

Trace Exposure Is Harmless

“Bisphenol-A is safe as commonly used,” said Dr. Gilbert Ross, medical director for the American Council on Science and Health. “Typical exposures to bisphenol-A do not pose a health threat to humans of any age.”

Responding to assertions trace amounts of bisphenol-A have been detected in human biomonitoring projects, Ross said such trace consumption of bisphenol-A poses no health risk.

“We all have bisphenol-A in our bodies,” Ross said, “but this means nothing as far as human health is concerned. Saying that something is in our bodies is essentially meaningless. Just because something is found doesn’t mean it is a threat to human health. There has never been any evidence indicating any human health threat associated with bisphenol-A.”

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. ([email protected]) is a civilian emergency medicine faculty member at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute and the American Council on Science and Health.

For more information …

“Toxicokinetics of Bisphenol A—Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC),” European Food Safety Authority, July 9, 2008: