Chemical Watch reports that the classification of bisphenol A (BPA) as a category 1B substance, toxic for reproduction, now looks a formality after it received the backing of EU member state officials last week.
Substances classified as category 1 carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxicants are banned from use in consumer products in the EU.
They can also be nominated – according to REACH Article 57(a) – as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) and be added to the REACH candidate list.
However, it is possible that before that, or any other regulatory option is pursued, a member state may decide to first conduct a risk management option analysis (RMOA).
The proposed classification is included in the annex accompanying a draft Regulation setting out the ninth adaptation to technical progress (ATP) of the CLP Regulation. According to sources, last week’s meeting of the REACH Committee approved the draft with the BPA classification intact.
The European Commission will now send the draft Regulation to the European Parliament for scrutiny. This takes around three months. It will then return to the Commission for formal adoption and publication in the EU Official Journal.
The Regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication. According to the draft text, it will apply 18 months after that date.
European Environmental Bureau (EEB) senior chemicals policy officer Tatiana Santos said the committee’s action was a “clear signal to take action to protect EU citizens from exposure to BPA”. Adding it to the candidate list would “rightly” make its phase-out a priority “given that it is a highly dangerous chemical that is impacting our health and that of future generations.”
BPA is manufactured in large volumes, primarily to produce polycarbonate and epoxy resins. According to Echa’s website, releases to the environment are “likely” from a wide range of products, including:
- toys; construction materials;
- leather products;
- paper and board; and
- electronic equipment.
France has banned food contact materials containing BPA from its home market. The country's courts overtured a similar ban on the production and export of such materials last year
The REACH Committee is also due to consider a proposed restriction on the placing on the market of thermal paper containing BPA.
Among the registrants or suppliers of BPA listed on Echa’s website are major chemical companies 3M, BASF, DuPont, Henkel, Huntsman, Idemitsu, Kao, PPG, Sabic and Solvay.