WHO Panel Says Canada’s BPA Curbs are Premature

A panel at the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that banning or controlling bisphenol A (BPA) would be premature, because evidence of its alleged health risks is not strong enough.

An international panel of 30 reviewed the latest study on BPA, an estrogen-mimicking compound found in plastics that is considered toxic. BPA has been raising safety concerns for some time, as it is present in many food containers and packages. The Canadian Government recently declared it a toxic substance, two years after having banned its use in baby bottles. However, the panel found that BPA is mostly eliminated through urine and does not accumulate in the body.

Recent experiments have linked low levels of BPA in the body with health problems, such as breast and prostate cancer. However, the panel said “it is difficult to interpret the relevance of these studies in the light of current knowledge of this compound”.

“Until these associations can be confirmed, initiation of public health measures would be premature”, concluded the panel.

Although Canada is the only country to have added BPA to its national list of toxic substances, other countries—the US, the UK and Belgium—have begun to introduce bills addressing the chemical.