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Health Canada Biomonitoring Data Demonstrates Low Level of Chemical Exposure in Canadians

Kathryn St. John (202) 249-6513

ARLINGTON, VA (Aug. 16, 2010) – Health Canada today released biomonitoring data collected as part of the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) Cycle 1 and the findings demonstrate that the levels of manmade compounds found in Canadians are quite low.

“These new results confirm that consumers’ exposure to chemicals are at extremely low levels,” according to Mike Walls, ACC vice president of regulatory and technical affairs. “The Health Canada report provides another layer of information to help scientists and government regulators make reliable decisions about protecting the environment and about the safety of products.”

“It is important that biomonitoring data be placed in the proper scientific context. It is premature to base policy and regulatory actions solely on the fact that a substance has been detected in the human body, without fully understanding the possible health impacts of biomonitoring data,” Walls concluded.

In addition, consumers should be aware of the following information:

Biomonitoring provides only a snapshot of substances present in the body at a single point in time. The presence of a substance detected by biomonitoring is not, on its own, an indicator of whether there will be any health effects, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • As today’s Canadian report states: “The ability to measure environmental chemicals at very low levels continues to progress. However, the presence of a chemical in a person’s body does not necessarily mean that it will affect a person’s health.”

  • Regarding Health Canada's data release specific to bisphenol A (BPA), Steven G. Hentges, Ph.D., executive director of ACC’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group said the following: “New data released today about consumer exposure to BPA in Canada is very reassuring and confirms that people are exposed to only minute levels that are readily eliminated from the body.  Biomonitoring data from Statistics Canada shows that the typical levels of BPA found in the general Canadian population are extremely low – approximately 1,000 times below the safe intake level for BPA set by Health Canada for all age groups, including children and teenagers.” 

BPA is one of the most thoroughly studied chemicals in commerce.  For example,

  • As noted by the Canadian government as a conclusion to their screening risk assessment on BPA, “In general, most Canadians are exposed to very low levels of BPA, therefore, it does not pose a health risk.” 

  • In regard to low levels of exposure to BPA from food packaging, Health Canada's Food Directorate, based on its own data, recently concluded that, “The current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants.”

  • Scientific research shows that in humans, BPA is quickly eliminated from the body through urine, in the form of a biologically inactive metabolite, the substance actually measured in the Canadian biomonitoring study.  If miniscule amounts of BPA are ingested through the diet, they are efficiently metabolized in the intestines and liver and do not accumulate in the body.

To help better protect human health and ensure public safety, ACC and its member companies continue to support efforts to study human exposure to natural and manmade substances.

ACC's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group | FactsAboutBPA.org | Bisphenol-A.org

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