Including non-dietary sources into an exposure assessment of the European Food Safety Authority: The challenge of multi-sector chemicals such as Bisphenol A
In the most recent risk assessment for Bisphenol A for the first time a multi-route aggregate exposure assessment was conducted by the European Food Safety Authority. This assessment includes exposure via dietary sources, and also contributions of the most important non-dietary sources. Both average and high aggregate exposure were calculated by source-to-dose modeling (forward calculation) for different age groups and compared with estimates based on urinary biomonitoring data (backward calculation). The aggregate exposure estimates obtained by forward and backward modeling are in the same order of magnitude, with forward modeling yielding higher estimates associated with larger uncertainty. Yet, only forward modeling can indicate the relative contribution of different sources. Dietary exposure, especially via canned food, appears to be the most important exposure source and, based on the central aggregate exposure estimates, contributes around 90% to internal exposure to total (conjugated plus unconjugated) BPA. Dermal exposure via thermal paper and to a lesser extent via cosmetic products may contribute around 10% for some age groups. The uncertainty around these estimates is considerable, but since after dermal absorption a first-pass metabolism of BPA by conjugation is lacking, dermal sources may be of equal or even higher toxicological relevance than dietary sources.