Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been commonly used since the 1960s. Most of it is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics and resins.
Due to its hazardous properties, the use of BPA has been limited or is being limited in the EU to protect people's health and the environment.
BPA has been used in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin for decades.
Polycarbonate plastic is strong and tough material that can be moulded at certain elevated temperatures. Products made of polycarbonate plastic include common consumer goods, such as re-usable plastic tableware and bottles for drinks, sports equipment, CDs and DVDs.
Epoxy resins containing BPA are used to coat the inside of water pipes and the inside of cans for food and drink to increase their shelf-life and avoid getting a metallic taste on the food or drink.
BPA has also been used to develop dye in thermal paper for sales receipts and public transport and parking tickets. Since January 2020, such paper with BPA is no longer allowed on the EU market.
BPA may damage fertility and has been identified as a substance affecting the hormonal systems of humans and animals. In addition, it damages eyes and may cause allergic skin reactions and respiratory irritation.
- causes toxic effects on our ability to reproduce (Repr. 1B);
- may cause respiratory irritation (STOT SE 3);
- causes serious eye damage (eye dam. 1); and
- may cause skin allergies (skin sens. 1).
BPA has been restricted as a substance on its own and in mixtures intended for consumer use in the EU since March 2018. Its use in thermal paper has been restricted since January 2020. From this date, thermal paper with 0.02% or more of BPA by weight cannot be placed on the EU market.
The French and Swedish authorities have proposed to restrict over 1 000 skin sensitising chemicals in clothing, footwear and other articles with a similar skin contact. BPA, as a skin sensitiser, would be included in this restriction. The proposal is supported by ECHA’s scientific committees RAC and the Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC). The final decision will be taken by the Commission together with the Member States.
In addition, German authorities are investigating the potential risks of BPA and other similar bisphenols to the environment. A call for evidence and information to support this work runs from October 2020 until mid-January 2021. They are expected to submit their restriction proposal to ECHA in October 2021.
- Bisphenol A - European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
- EFSA explains the safety of Bisphenol A
- BPA plan ready for new EFSA assessment in 2018, 14 December 2017
- European Commission - Bisphenol A: EU ban on baby bottles to enter into force tomorrow, 31 May 2011
- Toy Safety in the EU - European Commission - DG GROWTH