On April 7, 2016 World Health Day focused on diabetes. On the occasion, a speech was given on April 6, 2016 by Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and several statements concerning diabetes were published on April 7, 2016 by the European Commission (EC), the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). These described current and future activities in combating this disease, largely focused on promoting a healthy diet and physical activity to prevent obesity. However, none of the statements discussed the role of endocrine disrupting chemicals like bisphenol A (CAS 80-05-7) in the development of diabetes, despite the existing scientific evidence such as that discussed in a talk by Angel Nadal during the 2014 FPF workshop, or reviewed in a 2015 study by Fanny Rancière and colleagues.
In a related matter, an article by journalist Harry Jackson, published on April 7, 2016, tells the story of Dr. Nathan Ravi, a U.S. physician with type I diabetes. Ravi contracted his autoimmune disease when he was 28, after being exposed to BPA at work. Now 64, Ravi is active in informing people about health risks associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals present in plastics, and how to avoid such exposures.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that BPA is safe for approved uses in food packaging. A similar position has been taken by EFSA (FPF reported). However, a report recently released by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) highlighted the effects of low concentrations of BPA on the immune system, and called for an EU-wide reconsideration of BPA exposure limits (FPF reported). Also, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) is of the opinion that exposures to BPA must be reduced (FPF reported). Tighter BPA controls are planned to be introduced in the EU (FPF reported). Moreover, various food industries are pledging to phase out BPA from their products (FPF reported).
However, BPA is not the only chemical of concern in regard to diabetes, as many other chemicals have also been linked with type I and type II diabetes (FPF reported). In 2015, scientific experts from different disciplines have agreed that chemical exposure is one of the risk factors for metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes (FPF reported). Further research is necessary to better understand and manage the health risks associated with exposure to diabetogenic chemicals, including those present in food packaging.
Vytenis Andriukaitis (April 6, 2016). “EU platform for action on diet, physical activity and health, high level group on nutrition and physical activity joint meeting.” EC
JRC (April 7, 2016). “Combatting diabetes: World Health Day 2016.”
EFSA (April 7, 2016). “World Health Day: Beat diabetes.”
Harry Jackson Jr. (April 7, 2016). “Doctor with diabetes speaks out about chemicals in plastics.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Rancière, F. et al. (2015). “Bisphenol A and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders: a systematic review with meta-analysis of the epidemiological evidence.” Environmental Health 14:46.