23 December 2020
Europe rightly qualifies BPA as a very worrying substance for the animal world. With this ruling, PlasticsEurope has lost the third lawsuit in a row before the European Court.
Since 2017, Bisphenol A (BPA) is considered a hazardous substance in Europe, which is why BPA has been placed on the European list of substances of very deep concern.
PlasticsEurope, the European plastics industry’s lobby organization, has tried three times to prevent its inclusion on the list, before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The industry seems to use these lawsuits as a delaying tactic. As long as legal cases are going on, BPA can be used. The same applies to substances of concern that are used as an alternative to BPA.
It is expected that PlasticsEurope will also appeal against this last ruling.
HEALTH EFFECTS OF BISPHENOL A
The plastics industry is a major user of BPA. This chemical is used in many plastic products, such as plastic bottles, electronics, toys, and even receipts.
The endocrine-disrupting effect of BPA, both in humans and animals, has been established in various studies. Among other things, BPA causes fertility problems and has been associated with dozens of diseases, including cancer and obesity. Almost all people have traces of BPA in their bodies. In 2012, The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including BPA, are a global threat to public health.
The scientific evidence gathered has prompted Europe to qualify the substance of very deep concern under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) in 2017. BPA in baby bottles has been banned in the European Union since 2011. In France, there is a total ban on BPA in all food packaging and contact materials.
GREAT IMPORTANCE TO CALL BPA ‘SAFE’
PlasticEurope proactively claims to comply with all REACH obligations. But in the meantime, the lobbying organization has already filed three lawsuits against the decision of ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) to include BPA in Annex XIV of REACH. Inclusion on that list means that production, trade, and use is prohibited unless authorization has been granted.
Commercial interests are high, and so it is not surprising that BPA is presented as safe by the plastics industry. On the site of PlasticsEurope, there is a ‘Fact Safety of Bisphenol A’ with the message that nothing is wrong and that this substance can be used safely.
PlasticsEurope believes that ECHA did not provide enough evidence for inclusion on the list. The European Court of Justice disagrees.
The rulings of the Court are of great importance. Not only is it becoming increasingly difficult for the industry to continue to use BPA, they also pave the way for ECHA to qualify other endocrine-disrupting substances as very worrying. This is important because it will prevent producers from turning to equally dangerous alternatives. These are often substances that belong to the same chemical group as BPA – such as Bisphenol S, Bisphenol F, and Bisphenol BHPF – but potentially of equal concern.
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