BPA is found in some plastic and metal packaging.
Plastic packaging could face greater regulation over its use of the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), after the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) supported a French proposal to regard it ‘as a substance of very high concern’.
The ECHA said that the compound has ‘endocrine-disrupting properties which cause probable serious effects to human health’. The compound – found in plastic packaging such as water bottles – has been variously linked to a risk of behavioural problems in children, reduced thyroid function and even an increased risk of cancer in later life.
The ECHA agreed that BPA gave rise to an equal level of risk to that of carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic substances.
It had already included BPA in its list of high-concern chemicals because of potential consequences to fertility and the development of unborn babies.
The ECHA has also added perfluorohexane-1-sulphonic acid and its salts to the candidate list due to their very persistent and very bioaccumulative properties.
But the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is yet to act on the latest development. It had previously refused to ban use of BPAs in plastic packaging, arguing that the consequences of BPA exposure were yet to be comprehensively investigated.
Indeed, EFSA ruled in January 2015 that exposure from all sources is very low and well below a new safe limit for all age groups.
“The fact that any realistic exposure to BPA is well below even the conservative safety threshold established by EFSA shows that blanket restrictions being applied at national level, in particular in France, are unjustified and should be withdrawn,” said Jasmin Bird of the PC/BPA Group of PlasticsEurope.
Of the latest ECHA move, she added: “We do not understand the decision of the Member State Committee [of the ECHA] to support the dossier on BPA put forward by the French authorities. We believe that this weakens the strong principle of science-based regulatory decisions in the EU, and will result in further uncertainty without providing benefit to the safety of consumers.”
Claims about BPA’s impact on obesity, diabetes and ADHD have never been proven.
Wary of growing concern around BPA and other materials, like epoxy, Dow has developed an ultra-thin thermoplastic film coating comprising a specially designed mix of speciality polyolefin polymers in an aqueous dispersion. Canvera Polyolefin Dispersions help eliminate bisphenol A (BPA) and other materials of concern for brand owners and consumers.
Jan Weernink, global marketing director for Dow Coating Materials, said: “Materials such as epoxy and BPA have come under increasing regulatory pressure across the globe in recent years, following health concerns. This has created a growing need for a safe and durable alternative for metal food and drink cans.”
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