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BPA is toxic at low doses

Bisphenol A - Toxic Plastics Chemical in Canned Food: BPA is toxic at low doses

March 5, 2007

Numerous studies indicate exposure to low levels of BPA causes a range of serious health effects in laboratory animals, particularly when exposures occur in utero (Maffini 2006). Below we list 21 key studies that indicate low-dose effects. Many of these were deemed by CERHR to be 'useful' for the purposes of evaluating BPA's low-dose effects on human health (CERHR 2006). The harmful doses defined by these studies are well below EPA's current safe dose for BPA of 50 ug/kg-day. And as shown on the table below, a pregnant woman's or infant's BPA dose from a single serving of food from many of the cans tested in our study would fall within a margin of 10 from the harmful effects shown in these studies.

Many studies confirm BPA's low-dose toxicity across a diverse range of toxic effects


Daily BPA exposure (ug/kg body weight-day) CERHR conclusion* Toxic effect Study details Reference % cans tested by EWG with single-serving BPA levels within a margin of 10 from harmful dose
0.0001 not included alterations in cell signalling pathways on the cell surface that control calcium eflux in cells in-vitro study which compared activity of BPA and other hormone disruptors Wozniak 2005 56.7 (all cans with detected BPA)
0.025 "very useful" persistent changes to breast tissue, predisposes cells to hormones and carcinogens fetal exposure, osmotic pumps, changes noted a 6 months of age Muñoz-de-Toro 2005 55.7
0.025 "useful and shows tissue effects at extremely low dose levels" permanent changes to genital tract fetal exposure, osmotic pumps Markey 2005 55.7
0.2 utility "limited" decrease antioxidant enzymes adult exposure, oral Chitra 2003 47.4
0.25 utility "to be added" altered growth, cell size and lumen formation in mammary epithelium of mouse fetuses. exposure during pregnancy w/osmotic pumps Vandenberg 2007 45.4
2 "useful" increased prostate weight 30% fetal exposure, oral route Nagel 1997 20.6
2 "moderately useful" increased aggression at 8 weeks of life fetal exposure, oral route Kawai 2003 20.6
2.4 "useful", but non-traditional endpoint Decreased time from vaginal opening to first estrus, possibly earlier puberty fetal exposure, oral route Howdeshell 1999 17.5
2.4 "useful" lower bodyweight, increase of anogenital distance in both genders, signs of early puberty and longer estrus. fetal exposure, oral route Honma 2002 17.5
2.4 "adequate" decline in testicular testosterone fetal and neonatal exposure, gavage Akingbemi 2004 17.5
2.5 utility "to be added" breast cells predisposed to cancer fetal exposure, osmotic pumps Murray 2007 16.5
2.5 not included immune system impacts oral exposure Sawai 2003 16.5
10 utility "very useful" prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer infant oral exposure, 3 day duration Ho 2006 2.1
10 utility "very useful" prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer fetal exposure, oral route, short duration Timms 2005 2.1
10 not included insulin resistance develops in 2 days, chronic hyperinsulinemia at day 4 subcutaneous injection, short duration exposure Alonso-Magdalena 2006 2.1
10 "very useful" decreased maternal behaviors fetal and neonatal exposure, oral route Palanza 2002 2.1
20 not included damage to eggs and chromosomes fetal exposure, osmotic pumps Hunt 2003 0
20 not included damage to eggs fetal exposure, osmotic pumps Susiarjo 2007 0
20 not included brain effects - disrupted neocortical development by accelerating neuronal differentiation and migration single injection Nakamura 2006 0
30 "...adequate for the evaluation process and gives cause for concern" reversed the normal sex differences in brain structure and behavior oral during gestation and lactation Kubo 2003 0
30 "suitable" hyperactivity oral Ishido 2004 0
50   EPA RfD EPA's 'safe exposure level, based on outdated, high dose studies and a 1000-fold margin of safety EPA 1998 0


*CERHR conclusion refers to the Center for Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction expert panel assessment of the utility of the study in the panel's review of BPA risks to human reproduction (CERHR 2006).

Statistics on percent cans with single servings that would yield human dose within a margin of 10 of the toxic dose are generated with the following assumptions: BPA calculations reflect a single adult serving, using label serving size and body weight of 60 kg (132 lbs); exposures for concentrated infant formula is calculated for exclusively formula-fed infant using average 3-month-old body weight (6 kg/13 lbs) and average daily formula ingestion (840 g/30 oz); formula is assumed diluted with water free of BPA.