Following an open consultation earlier in the year by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on its draft opinion on the potential health risks of bisphenol A (BPA) for consumers, the Authority held a scientific meeting with NGOs and industry to discuss BPA comments.

Gwynne Lyons, director of campaign partner CHEM Trust belives that the draft opinion is 'lacking'. As its summary does not encapsulate any of the controversy surrounding BPA, there is not a good overview of the state of play at this point in time. As quoted in Chemical Watch, she recommends that the opinion should include a table to show the lowest dose levels reported to cause effects in animals, to allow comparisons with current exposures.

At the meeting Paul Whaley from the Policy from Science Project presented the results of his review of EFSA's draft opinion, according to a set of principles derived from the Cochrane Collaboration (CW 24 January 2014). He found the draft opinion to compare "favourably" with earlier opinions, thanks to extra documentation being provided.

As quoted in Chemical Watch, Mr Whaley said that the improvement in transparency also reveals a lack of clarity with regard to best practice in finding, selecting, appraising and synthesising evidence on the toxicity of BPA before interpreting this into a risk assessment. He added that the opinion does not appear to have considered all relevant research.

Following the comments during the meeting, EFSA took on board the need for the summary to better show the uncertainties and perhaps take up the issue of whether or not there may be a margin of safety for some effects. The Authority said it welcomed the feedback and all the issues raised will be assessed carefully as they finalise their conclusions on the safety of BPA in the coming months.

The CEF will adopt its opinion on BPA at the end of 2014 (CW 10 April 2014).