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Published on 16/06/2017
Bisphenol A is recognised by ECHA for its endocrine-disrupting properties, based on a proposal by France
In February 2017, ANSES submitted a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to classify bisphenol A (BPA) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) within the framework of the European REACh regulation, based on its “endocrine-disrupting” properties which cause probable serious effects to human health. This proposal has just been adopted by ECHA’s Member State Committee. The decision means that industry players must notify ECHA of the presence of bisphenol A in all imported or manufactured items and must also inform buyers when items contain the substance. The inclusion of BPA on ECHA’s list of substances of very high concern also means that it may be submitted to authorisation as a substance, with its uses subject to the granting of a temporary, renewable authorisation.
Bisphenol A is a synthetic chemical which has been used for over 50 years, mainly in the plastics industry. ANSES has identified close to sixty business sectors that are potential users of the substance in France. Studies by ANSES on the uses and health effects of bisphenol A, conducted as part of the National Endocrine Disruptor Strategy, led the Agency to recommend, as of September 2011, a reduction in population exposure to the substance through its substitution in food contact materials in particular. Therefore since 1 January 2015 bisphenol A has been banned in food containers in France, and has led to a significant reduction in exposure levels.
Furthermore, in 2012, in the framework of implementation of the European regulation on the labelling of chemical substances (CLP regulation), ANSES submitted a proposal to ECHA for amending the classification of bisphenol A in order to include it in category 1B - substances toxic to reproduction (fertility). This proposal was adopted by the European Commission in July 2016.
Following this, a measure restricting BPA use in certain widely available items such as receipts made of thermal paper, was also adopted by the European Commission in December 2016, based on a dossier filed by ANSES with ECHA as part of the REACh regulation.
Identification of bisphenol A as a substance of very high concern
The REACh regulation specifies that substances that may have serious and often irreversible effects on human health and the environment can be identified as substances of very high concern (SVHC). In February 2017, ANSES submitted a proposal to ECHA for identifying BPA as an SVHC based on its “endocrine disrupting” properties which cause probable serious effects to human health.
This proposal has just been adopted by the Member State Committee of ECHA. As a direct result of BPA’s identification as an SVHC, industry players will now have to notify ECHA of the presence of bisphenol A in all imported or manufactured items and must also inform buyers, upon request, when items contain the substance.
BPA’s inclusion on the list of substances of very high concern means that its uses may be limited and subject to the granting of a temporary, renewable authorisation.