EUROPE – A coalition of academic experts has thrown its weight behind the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) recent decision to lower the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in food packaging.

In a published letter, the group lauds EFSA’s rigorous risk assessment process and urges global regulatory bodies to adopt similar approaches to evaluating endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

The experts express strong support for EFSA’s 2023 reassessment of BPA exposure, which resulted in a TDI that is 20,000 times lower than previous standards. This landmark decision reflects EFSA’s commitment to prioritizing the latest scientific evidence and conducting a transparent review process.

Despite EFSA’s thorough methodology, other regulatory agencies, including the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have expressed reservations about the new TDI.

However, the experts argue that EFSA’s inclusive approach, which incorporates academic research alongside industry-funded studies, sets a gold standard for modern risk assessment practices.

In response to EFSA’s reassessment, the European Commission (EC) has proposed adopting the new TDI and considering a ban on BPA in food packaging materials. This proactive stance aims to prevent the substitution of BPA with equally harmful alternatives, a phenomenon known as “regrettable substitutions.”

Proposed model for modernized risk assessment

The experts highlight shortcomings in the traditional risk assessment processes employed by regulatory agencies like the FDA and BfR. They argue that these approaches fail to account for the complexities of EDCs and overlook emerging scientific evidence on low-dose effects and mixture toxicity.

To address these deficiencies, the experts endorse the Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity (CLARITY-BPA) model. This collaborative effort between government and academia aims to improve hazard identification through comprehensive, hypothesis-driven studies.

Echoing the stance of the Endocrine Society, the experts emphasize the need for precautionary measures in chemical regulation, especially in cases where evidence of harm exists.

While acknowledging past FDA shortcomings, they express optimism about the agency’s recent efforts to adopt a more systematic and transparent approach to food chemical safety.

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