The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA’s) Unit on Feed and Contaminants has launched a public consultation regarding the draft scientific opinion on the update of the risk assessment of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and its derivatives in food. TBBPA is a common type of brominated flame retardants (BFR), used in a wide range of consumer and commercial products. There has been increasing concerns in recent years due to the occurrence of several chemical compounds from this group of BFRs in the environment, food, and humans.

Addressing concerns around BFRs, the European Commission (EC) asked EFSA to update its 2010–2012 risk assessments on different families of BFRs, that is: hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDDs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and its derivatives, brominated phenols and their derivatives, and novel and emerging BFRs. EFSA’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) is updating the risk assessments of different classes of BFRs in a series of separate opinions. The CONTAM Panel is also considering the appropriateness of applying a mixture approach including the different BFR families in an additional opinion once the risk assessment for each BFR family has been updated.

The present opinion on TBBPA takes into account the occurrence data in food and biological samples submitted to EFSA after its previous opinion, as well as newly available scientific information of relevance to hazard identification and characterization.

Taking into account the new data, the CONTAM Panel considered it appropriate to set a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for TBBPA. Based on studies showing decreased interest in social interaction in male mice exposed to the chemical, a lowest-observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) of 0.2 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight (mg/kg bw) per day was identified and selected as the reference point for the risk characterization, and was used to establish a TDI for TBBPA of 0.7 micrograms (μg)/kg bw per day.

Next, the CONTAM Panel estimated dietary exposure for the European population to TBBPA. The most important contributors to the chronic dietary exposure to TBBPA were fish and seafood, meat and meat products, and milk and dairy products. The exposure estimates to TBBPA were all below the TDI, including those estimated for breastfed and formula-fed infants.

Accounting for the uncertainties affecting the assessment, the CONTAM Panel concluded with 90–95 percent certainty that the current dietary exposure to TBBPA does not raise a health concern for any of the population groups considered. More data is required to conduct a risk assessment for TBBPA derivatives.