REACH: France proposes the restriction of bisphenol-A (BPA) in thermal papers

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Gruiz Katalin

France has registered its intention in 2013 to submit an REACH Annex XVII restriction proposal for bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper.

Bisphenol A, also commonly referred to as BPA, is an organic chemical which is the essential basic building block (intermediate) for high performance polymer plastics and coatings, mainly polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Many countries has banned the use of BPA in infant feeding (baby) bottles.

The opinion from the French National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labour (Anses) published in April 2013 confirms the health effects of bisphenol A, particularly for pregnant women in terms of potential risks to the unborn child. Some exposure situations, mainly related to the handling of thermal paper (cash register receipts, credit card receipts, etc.), leading to potential risk for human health have been identified. Therefore, France submitted its proposal on 17-01-2014 for the restriction of BPA in thermal paper.

The restriction proposal is based on the extremely high risk characterization ratios (RCRs), which are  10—100-times of the acceptable. The risks on brain and behaviour, the female reproductive system, metabolism and obesity, as well as the mammary gland and endometrosis have been evaluated.

The dossier contains information on the application and reduced risk of 10 different dyes, as well as some technological alternatíves.

The data and information the restriction proposal is based on, are rather uncertain: to make a good decision based on realistic exposures and effects, additional good quality information is needed.