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Bisphenol A: French efforts should serve Europe!

HEAL member RES welcomes the almost unanimous vote [1] of MPs to ban bisphenol A in food contact materials. This should significantly reduce our daily exposure to this endocrine disruptor [2] and, thus, help reduce the poisoning of the fetus via maternal contamination. We have now increasing evidence to support that exposure during pregnancy may cause serious health effects in childhood and in adulthood (cancer, diabetes, obesity, reproductive disorders and behavior).

All eyes should now turn to the European scene where the EC institutions can not be distinguished by their proactive efforts on the issues of endocrine disruptors. For André Cicolella, spokesman for the RES, it is firstly the credibility of the European Food Safety Agency, EFSA, which is challenged: "EFSA can not continue to deny the reality of scientific knowledge and maintain a Acceptable Daily Intake, which does not consider hundreds of studies showing effects at low doses. If, this attitude should continue, the European institutions will have to seriously investigate the conduct and ethics of the expertise within the EFSA."

"After the ban on BPA baby bottles and the pending adoption of a law banning three groups of endocrine disrupting chemicals (alkylphenols, phthalates and parabens), today’s vote puts the French government in position and duty to change the position of the European Commission " comments RES campaigner Yannick Vicaire. "France should inspire the dynamic that is lacking at the European level by bringing together other member states to work towards an urgent global response to the issues of endocrine disruptors."

Contrary to the claims of manufacturers, alternatives to BPA are already marketed. The RES has published a note on this issue [3]. In particular, a U.S. Eden Foods (http://www.edenfoods.com/) uses a BPA-free process since April 1999. In addition, the State of Connecticut has decided to ban BPA in food containers reusable in June 2010 and this measure came into force on 1 October 2011. This shows that the implementation can be done very quickly.

The law adopted today by the Parliament is the first step in reducing exposure to BPA. It is urgent that the French agency, ANSES, identifies other sources, including food, likely to be priorities in terms of exposure for the general population or for specific professional sectors: medical equipment, musical instruments, thermal papers, coatings of water pipes or wine tanks, etc.. The ANSES also needs to better characterize the indirect environmental exposure, especially through food (fish and shellfish) or indoor air pollution.

NOTES:

[1] 2 votes against 348 votes cast on

[2] The study of the Breast Cancer Fund has shown that a diet which eliminates "intentional" sources of BPA led within days to a reduction of more than half the level of BPA detected in urine. http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.1003170

[3] Overview of the available alternatives to Bisphenol A in food contact materials http://reseau-environnement-sante.fr/?p=3019

Read official Press Statement (in French) at: http://reseau-environnement-sante.fr/

Originally posted on 19 October 2011

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