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Group assessment of bisphenols

ECHA and the Member States have assessed a group of 148 bisphenols and recommended that more than 30 bisphenols need to be restricted due to their potential hormonal or reprotoxic effects.

Many bisphenols are known endocrine disrupters both for human health and the environment. They also have reprotoxic properties. As they are widely used, a group restriction has been identified as the best way to manage the risks of 34 bisphenols. This number may change as more information is generated for these and other bisphenols that were lacking data.

Three bisphenols (bisphenol A, bisphenol B and 2,2-bis(4'-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methylpentane) have already been identified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs). SVHC identification or harmonised classification and labelling is proposed for further bisphenols where sufficient information on hazards is already available. However, for many group members, more data needs to be generated before potential endocrine-disrupting and reprotoxic properties can be confirmed.

German authorities are already preparing a proposal to restrict the use of bisphenol A and other bisphenols with endocrine-disrupting properties for the environment. Once it is clearer which bisphenols the German proposal will cover, ECHA and the European Commission will consider any further needs for regulatory action on bisphenols.

The planned restriction of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) will also need to be considered in any additional action as bisphenol AF and its eight salts are also defined as PFASs.

What is bisphenol A (BPA) and where can you find it?

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. It is one of the most well-known substances in a bigger family of bisphenols with similar chemical structures and uses.

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.

What are the concerns?

BPA may damage fertility and has been identified as a substance affecting the hormonal systems of people and animals. In addition, it damages eyes and may cause allergic skin reactions and respiratory irritation.

Source: ECHA

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