In the last several years, federal government scientists have been conducting in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the safety of BPA. To date, more than 20 of these studies have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
In the past few years, the FDA has made a concerted effort to review new research on BPA to provide evidence-based recommendations to the public, including answers to common questions, which can be found on "FDA Answers Key Questions about BPA Safety" or its "Questions and Answers on Bisphenol A (BPA) Use in Food Contact Applications" page. These recommendations include:
As of February 2016, FDA stated that “BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods.” And based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to “support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.” It is important to note that scientific experts at FDA, and other government bodies around the world, review the full weight of the scientific evidence when making decisions about safety.
Past FDA Actions
Response to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s Citizen Petition in 2012: The FDA denied NRDC's petition in its entirety, which asked the FDA to prohibit the use of BPA in human food and food packaging. This response included the statement that "the Food and Drug Administration's assessment is that the scientific evidence at this time does not suggest that the very low levels of human exposure to BPA through the diet are unsafe." FDA noted a variety of limitations in the studies cited by the NRDC petition. Visit the FDA website for more information on this decision.
In its decision to reject the NRDC's petition, the FDA reconfirmed its earlier conclusion that BPA is safe for use in food-contact applications. In an update coinciding with its response to the petition, FDA stated that "the scientific evidence at this time does not suggest that the very low levels of human exposure to BPA through the diet are unsafe." This is consistent with both an August 2008 assessment and a January 2010 update that affirmed that BPA "is not proven to harm children or adults..." As noted by an FDA spokesperson, FDA objectively weighs all the evidence in an unbiased evaluation to reach its conclusion.
- "Update on Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications" in 2010: HHS and the FDA released their recommendation to the public, which said that BPA "is not proven to harm children or adults…" This was consistent with a draft assessment issued by FDA in 2008 (see below). The update confirmed that studies using standardized toxicity tests continued to support the safety of BPA. FDA noted some studies, using novel approaches to testing for subtle effects, did raise questions and the agency would conduct additional scientific research to answer these key questions and clarify uncertainties. Although the agency noted "some concern," meaning additional research is needed; it did not take regulatory action or impose restrictions on the use of BPA. To read the full report, please click here.
- FDA releases docket of BPA information: On April 5, 2010, FDA released its docket of information pertinent to BPA. As a follow up to its January 2010 statement on BPA, FDA opened this docket to provide transparency of the scientific review process. To see FDA's January statements supporting the continued safe use of BPA, and noting that the agency would open a docket, please click here. To visit the docket online, please click here.
- FDA supports baby bottles with BPA: In January 2010, FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein stated that "if [the Food and Drug Administration] thought it was unsafe, we would be taking strong regulatory action." -- The New York Times
- Draft Assessment of Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications" in 2008: The FDA released a draft report on BPA in food-contact products such as water bottles, food containers and baby bottles. The FDA stated the following: "FDA concludes that an adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses, for infants and adults." More simply, this statement found that BPA is safe in food contact products. Please click here for the full report.
For more information on FDA research on BPA safety, please click here.