The US Department of Health and Human Services has said further research is required into the potential health impact of using bisphenol-A in food packaging.

According to an announcement on Friday (15 January), further study is required to track possible harmful effects of the chemical, although existing research does not demonstrate there is cause for concern over the potential impact of BPA on health.

"Recent studies have reported subtle effects of low doses of BPA in laboratory animals.  While BPA is not proven to harm children or adults, these newer studies have led federal health officials to express some concern about the safety of BPA," the HHS said in a statement.

BPA is used to harden plastics and has been used for a variety of applications in the food industry, including baby bottles, water bottles and to line cans of food. 

Last year the Food and Drug Administration ruled that the trace amounts that leak from packaging into food do not pose a threat to public health.

However, after scientists and lobby groups complained that the FDA's findings relied on only a small number of industry-sponsored studies, the agency said it would revisit its investigation.