News

EEB calls on Member States to act as BPA classified as toxic

EEB Reactions

8 February 2016

The EEB welcomes the decision taken by the European Commission and EU Member States late last week to classify bisphenol A (BPA) as a presumed human reproductive toxicant (category 1B) [1]

Tatiana Santos, Senior Policy Officer for Chemicals at the European Environmental Bureau, said:

Now that BPA is officially classified as a reprotoxicant, Member States have a clear signal to take action to protect EU citizens from the exposure to BPA and avoid spending millions of Euros on treating diseases linked with this substance. BPA can now directly be included in the REACH candidate list [2] [3], meaning that the phase-out and substitution of this substance would become a priority – rightly so, given that it is a highly dangerous chemical that is impacting our health and that of future generations’.

ENDS

[1] More information: https://chemicalwatch.com/44942/bpa-poised-for-classification-as-category-1-reprotoxin

BPA is a chemical that has been used to harden plastics for more than 40 years. It is produced in very large quantities (between 1 and 10 million tonnes per annum are registered in Europe) for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

In short, it is everywhere: in medical devices, CDs, dental sealants, reusable aluminium water bottles*, the lining of canned foods and drinks, computers, refrigerators, washing machines, vehicles, toys, mobile phones, tissues, feminine hygiene products, nappies, books, magazines, wallpaper, and many more .

As a consequence, epidemiological studies have reported that more than 90% of people worldwide have BPA in their bodies (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24840445). Exposure occurs mainly through food contact materials such as plastic containers. Previously, BPA was commonly used in baby food contact materials, but this was banned in 2011 by the European Union.

There is long list of adverse effects caused by BPA, mainly linked with hormonal, fertility and developmental disorders. These include potential effects on the brain, mammary glands, kidneys, liver functioning and prostate glands. This is particularly important when the most vulnerable people are exposed to the chemical, such as pregnant women, foetuses, infants, and young children.

[2] This decision was taken by the REACH Committee, the committee established under the Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Member States voted in favour of the draft Commission Regulation amending, for the purposes of its adaptation to technical and scientific progress, Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (9th ATP to CLP)

[3] The official classification of bisphenol A as reprotoxicant imposes further regulatory measures on its use, including its ban from chemical mixtures – including cleaning products and lotions – for consumers. Furthermore, employers will have a responsibility to prevent workers who are pregnant or breastfeeding from BPA exposure from other sources in the workplace. Finally, it can be automatically included in the REACH candidate list (as it meets criteria set down in article 57c) and eventually to the ‘ban list’ (annex XIV) so its use will not be allowed in the EU unless specific permission is granted.

*This press release was amended on 16 February to make it clear that we mean reusable aluminium water bottles, not water bottles made from glass or PET, which are both BPA free.

For more info, please contact:

Philippa NUTTALL JONES

philippa.jones@eeb.org Communications Manager

Tel: +32 (0) 2289 13 09