Plastic cup lids have little risk of bisphenol A (BPA) toxicity when used normally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday in response to widespread media coverage on the negative health effects of drinking hot beverages from small openings in plastic lids.
However, the FDA did not rule out the possibility of the production of other harmful substances under high temperatures and encouraged the public to remove plastic lids or put hot liquids into ceramic cups or glasses before drinking.
The plastic cup lids on the market are mostly made out of polystyrene, a material that “should not have the risk of discharging BPA,” said Tsai Shu-jen, director of the administration’s Division of Food Safety.
She added that 93 items made from 11 plastic materials were tested last year for BPA, none of which had levels over the national standard, which is 0.002 parts per million.
BPA is among the many environmental hormones that disrupt the endocrine system and can impede reproductive functions, said Chien Chi-cheng (簡基城), vice superintendent of On Yen General Hospital in Hsinchu County, in a press conference a day earlier held to warn the public about the potential danger of drinking through plastic lids.
Tsai, nevertheless, said that plastic containers are made from a variety of materials and should be used according their heat resistance rating to lower the chance of toxic emissions or container deterioration.
The suggested heat resistance of polystyrene is between 70°C and 90°C, the administration said.
Asked how the public would be informed about the heat resistance level of various plastic materials, Tsaisaid that manufacturers of both reusable and disposable plastic containers would be asked to label heat resistance levels on their products.