In collaboration with Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have announced an October 2010 expert meeting in Ottawa, Ontario, to discuss the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), calling for data from the scientific community on any “adverse human health effects at low doses of BPA, especially on
reproduction, the nervous system and on behavioral development.”

Meeting participants will apparently consider the current literature on BPA toxicology and exposure, weigh available risk assessments and address any knowledge gaps in an effort to develop international guidance. The agencies are specifically requesting both published and unpublished technical information on (i) “current levels of BPA in relevant food groups”; (ii) the analytical methodologies used to detect BPA “in food and other matrices”; (iii) “BPA migration from food contact materials into food”; (iv) “dietary exposure assessments of BPA from foods and other sources”; (v) the “health effects of BPA in relevant animal or in-vitro models”; (vi) epidemiological studies; (vii) “risk assessments carried out on BPA relative to oral exposure”; and (viii) “reviews, surveys or other information concerning public perceptions of BPA.” WHO’s Food Safety Program will accept data submissions until February 26, 2010. See Health Canada News Release, December 8, 2009.

In a related development, a recent study has reportedly suggested that “exposure of placental cells to low doses of BPA may cause detrimental effects, leading in vivo to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, prematurity and pregnancy loss.” Nora Benachour and Aziz Arism, “Toxic effects of low doses of Bisphenol-A on human placental cells,” Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, December 2009. Canadian researchers apparently exposed five placentas collected after birth to low concentrations of BPA for 24 hours, finding that the chemical killed some cells and thus would increase risk to the fetus. According to the study results, “doses of BPA from 0.0002 to 0.2 micrograms per milliliter, which are close to levels of BPA found in circulation of pregnant women, are cytotoxic.” See Montreal Gazette, December 9, 2009.

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