Please see our March 30 post discussing FDA’s rejection of the appeal by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other environmental groups to ban bisphenol-A (BPA).

This week’s Washington Post article on BPA is an indication that environmental and consumer groups will continue the pressure on FDA to reconsider this decision.  The article can be accessed on the Washington Post website:

 Freinkel, Susan, If the food’s in plastic, what’s in the food?, Washington Post, April 17, 2012.

Ms. Freinkel is also the author of a recent book on the history of the plastics industry.

Freinkel, Susan, Plastic: a Toxic Love story, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2011. (available on Kindle).

The Washington Post article includes a link to the Rudel article published last year in Environmental Health Perspectives which is an open-source journal.

Rudel, et al., Food Packaging and Bisphenol A and Bis(2-Ethyhexyl) Phthalate Exposure: Findings from a Dietary Intervention, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 119, no. 7, July 2011.

We post the Abstract and note that the full article is available the journal’s website.


Background: Bisphenol A (BPA) and bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) are high-production-volume chemicals used in plastics and resins for food packaging. They have been associated with endocrine disruption in animals and in some human studies. Human exposure sources have been estimated, but the relative contribution of dietary exposure to total intake has not been studied empirically.

Objectives: To evaluate the contribution of food packaging to exposure, we measured urinary BPA and phthalate metabolites before, during, and after a “fresh foods” dietary intervention.

Methods: We selected 20 participants in five families based on self-reported use of canned and packaged foods. Participants ate their usual diet, followed by 3 days of “fresh foods” that were not canned or packaged in plastic, and then returned to their usual diet. We collected evening urine samples over 8 days in January 2010 and composited them into preintervention, during intervention, and postintervention samples. We used mixed-effects models for repeated measures and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests to assess change in urinary levels across time.

Results: Urine levels of BPA and DEHP metabolites decreased significantly during the fresh foods intervention [e.g., BPA geometric mean (GM), 3.7 ng/mL preintervention vs. 1.2 ng/mL during intervention; mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxy hexyl) phthalate GM, 57 ng/mL vs. 25 ng/mL]. The intervention reduced GM concentrations of BPA by 66% and DEHP metabolites by 53–56%. Maxima were reduced by 76% for BPA and 93–96% for DEHP metabolites.

Conclusions: BPA and DEHP exposures were substantially reduced when participants’ diets were restricted to food with limited packaging.

Key words: canned foods, diet, endocrine disruptor, exposure, food packaging, intervention design, pharmacokinetics, phthalates, plastics. Environ Health Perspect 119:914–920 (2011). doi:10.1289/ehp.1003170 [Online 30 March 2011].

This controversy will certainly continue. We note that our April 4 post includes a discussion of the partial regulation of BPA (infant feeding bottles) in the European Union.