Bisphenol A and other bisphenols
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical widely used in plastic products and epoxy resins. BPA is a recognised hormone disrupting chemical and there is evidence linking even low level exposure to BPA with adverse effects on the development of breast tissue.
The European Commission banned the use of BPA in baby bottles in March 2011 because of concerns of its potential effects on the developing mammary gland, and from use in till receipts from 2020. However it continues to be used in various food and drink contact materials.
On June 16th 2017 BPA was identified as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) because of its endocrine disrupting properties which cause probable serious effects to human health. As a result of BPA’s identification as an SVHC, manufacturers now have to notify ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) of the presence of BPA in all imported or manufactured items and must also inform consumers, 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.
On September 5th 2018 ECHA announced it would consider recommending the European Commission include BPA in the Authorisation List (Annex XIV to REACH). If a substance is included in the Authorisation List, it can only be placed on the market or used after a given date if an authorisation is granted for a specific use. Breast Cancer UK supports fully this recommendation.
In a separate development EFSA (European Food and Safety Authority) announced a new working group of scientific experts will start evaluating recent toxicological data on BPA in food contact material. Details on this new assessment are due in 2020. Breast Cancer UK is calling for BPA to be prohibited from use in all food and drinks packaging, including food contact materials which come under EFSA regulations.
Due to stricter regulations, increasing evidence of harm to human health and public pressure, BPA is being phased out by plastics’ manufacturers. Other bisphenols, such as BPS, BPAP, BPAF and BPB, have been introduced to replace BPA. Breast Cancer UK is concerned these bisphenol alternatives may be equally or more oestrogenic and harmful to human health and will campaign against the use of any bisphenol where there is evidence they may affect breast cancer risk.
Breast Cancer UK Position paper
- Background briefing on Bisphenol A (21.10.16)
- Comments to the European Chemicals Agency regarding its proposal to include bisphenol A in the REACH Authorisation List (29.11.2018)
- Comments to European Food Safety Authority on draft BPA hazard assessment protocol (1.09.2017)
- Response to the proposal to identify BPA as a substance of very high concern owing to its classification as an endocrine disrupting chemical (24.4.2017)
- Response to the proposal to identify BPA as a substance of very high concern owing to its classification in the hazard class reproductive toxicity category 1B (22.10.2016)
- Response to the draft opinion of the Committee of Socio-Economic Analysis on the use of BPA in thermal receipt paper (16.11.2016)
- Response to the European Commissions Roadmap on Rules concerning the use of BPA in food contact materials: (23.12.2015)
- Response to the Draft Scientific Opinion of the European Food Safety Authority on the risks to public health related to the precense of Bisphenol A in food stuffs (Part 2) Health Risks: (25.1.2014)
- Response to the Draft Scientific Opinion on the risks to public health related to the precense of Bisphenol A in food stuffs (Part 1) Exposure Assessment: (15.09.2013)
Letters and joint statements
Page last updated November 6, 2018