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Europeans exposed to chemical BPA at higher than acceptable health safety levels, EU report says

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Plastic dishes Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Lauren Chadwick
Published on Updated
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Exposure to the synthetic chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) exceeds acceptable health safety levels, a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing said.

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Europeans are exposed to levels of Bisphenol A (or BPA) that exceed acceptable health safety levels, an EU agency said on Thursday.

The synthetic chemical BPA can be found across Europe in plastics, metal food containers and drinking water pipes.

But even low levels of it can have an adverse impact on people’s health, according to multiple studies.

This latest briefing from the European Environment Agency (EEA) found that 92 per cent of participants in a study from 11 European countries had BPA in their urine.

“Thanks to the EU’s groundbreaking human biomonitoring research project we are able to see that Bisphenol A (BPA) poses a much more widespread risk to our health than previously thought,” said Leena Ylä-Mononen, the EEA executive director, in a statement.

“We must take the results of this research seriously and take more action at EU level to limit the exposure to chemicals that pose a risk to the health of Europeans”.

In April, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reduced its assessment of a tolerable daily intake of BPA from 4 micrograms per kg of body weight per day to 0.2 nanograms per kg of body weight per day.

This new recommendation for daily intake was 20,000 times lower than the previous one. The agency was concerned in particular about exposure to BPA through food, especially from canned goods.

In addition to damaging the immune system, BPA can reduce fertility, cause allergic reactions, and disrupt hormones.

The EEA briefing was based on a European human biomonitoring project from January 2017 to January 2022

BPA was measured in urine in more than 2,700 adults across 11 European countries including Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland.

In France, Luxembourg, and Portugal, all participants had BPA in their urine exceeding safety thresholds. In Poland, 99 per cent had BPA in their urine exceeding those levels while in the Czech Republic and Iceland, 98 per cent did.

Plastics Europe - a plastics industry association - has lost several cases at the EU Court of Justice over BPA.

In March, it lost an appeal against the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) over the ECHA’s determination that BPA is of very high concern for the environment due to its endocrine-disrupting properties.

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