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Chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) classified as toxic

At the beginning of February, the EU Commission and EU Member States agreed to the classification of bisphenol A (BPA) as a presumed human reproductive toxicant (category 1B).

Epidemiological studies have reported that more than 90 percent of people worldwide have BPA in their bodies (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...).

BPA is considered by many scientists to be a hormone disrupting chemical, and there is long list of adverse effects thought to be caused by this chemical, mainly linked with hormonal, fertility and developmental disorders. These include potential effects on the brain, mammary glands, kidneys, liver functioning and prostate glands. These effects may occur as a result of exposures that happen during biologically vulnerable phases of life. This is particularly relevant for people such as pregnant women, foetuses, infants, and young children.

At EU level, BPA was examined in order to be given a ‘harmonised’ (EU level) classification for its properties that are toxic to reproduction. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Risk Assessment Committee is responsible for the EU harmonised classification process. After the ECHA Risk Assessment Committee gave its recommendation, the EU Commission and Member States agreed on the 1B reprotox classification, which will now be sent, along with any other updates to the Classification law to the European Parliament for ‘scrutiny’. Subsequent to Parliament agreement, and publication in the EU’s Official Journal, its new classification will apply approximately after November 2017.

A number of EU laws contain specific measures to control chemicals classified as reproductive toxicants, such as the REACH chemicals law, the Cosmetics Regulation, the Pesticides Regulation, etc. The classification notably opens the way for BPA to be easily adopted as a Substance of Very High Concern in the REACH chemicals system.

Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Advisor on Chemicals for HEAL, said “This will bring on some consequences for how BPA can be used in Europe, but it is still taking too long to get measures that will significantly reduce people’s exposures across all sorts of product areas, including from food. For example, we call on the European Commission to eliminate BPA completely in food contact materials, instead of ushering in a ‘safe limit’ that doesn’t change current practices of the food contact plastics and canning industries.

Originally posted on 23 February 2016

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