EUROPE – The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has initiated a public consultation regarding the draft scientific opinion on the updated risk assessment of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and its derivatives in food.

TBBPA is a type of brominated flame retardant (BFR) commonly used in various consumer and commercial products. Recent concerns have arisen due to the presence of several chemical compounds from this group of BFRs in the environment, food, and human bodies.

The European Commission (EC) tasked EFSA’s Unit on Feed and Contaminants with updating risk assessments for different families of BFRs, including TBBPA and its derivatives, hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDDs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), brominated phenols, and novel and emerging BFRs.

EFSA’s CONTAM Panel is conducting separate risk assessments for each BFR family and considering a mixture approach in a subsequent opinion.

The draft opinion on TBBPA considers new occurrence data in food and biological samples, along with updated scientific information relevant to hazard identification and characterization.

Based on studies indicating reduced social interaction in male mice exposed to TBBPA, a lowest-observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) of 0.2 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight (mg/kg bw) per day was established as the reference point for risk characterization. This led to the setting of a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for TBBPA at 0.7 micrograms (μg)/kg bw per day.

The CONTAM Panel evaluated dietary exposure to TBBPA among the European population, identifying fish and seafood, meat and meat products, and milk and dairy products as primary contributors. However, all exposure estimates were below the TDI, including those for breastfed and formula-fed infants.

Despite uncertainties in the assessment, the CONTAM Panel concluded with 90–95 percent certainty that current dietary exposure to TBBPA does not pose a health concern for any population group. However, further data is needed to conduct a risk assessment for TBBPA derivatives.

The public consultation is seeking input and feedback on the draft scientific opinion. Interested stakeholders and experts are encouraged to participate in shaping the final assessment of TBBPA’s safety in food.

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