NEWS: EU Member States Committee recognise BPA as Substance of Very High Concern | Breast Cancer UK

NEWS: EU Member States Committee recognise BPA as Substance of Very High Concern

Published 16 Jun 2017

Breast Cancer UK welcomes the news that the EU Member State Committee (MSC) has finally recognised bisphenol A (BPA) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) with probable serious health effects based on its endocrine disrupting properties.

BPA is used in the manufacture of many products including polycarbonate plastic bottles and food packaging, and is sometimes used in the lining of metal cans of food and drink. BPA is also used as an additive in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. It is found in dental sealants, medical devices and thermal till receipts as well as CDs, plastic casings and electronic devices.

It has been known for decades that BPA can act as a synthetic oestrogen and may be linked to breast cancer. Laboratory experiments show that BPA can transform normal breast cells into cells of a more cancerous or overall malignant nature. It has also been linked to increased breast density, cell growth and an increased susceptibility to tumours.    

In 2010 BPA was banned from babies’ bottles because of concerns early exposures to the chemical may adversely affect the developing mammary gland. In January 2017, the EU listed BPA as a SVHC, due to its toxic effects on human reproduction. It has now been listed again, due to its endocrine disrupting properties which cause probable serious effects to human health.

Listing BPA as an SVHC is the first step to more stringent regulatory measures governing its use. Manufacturers will now have to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) 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.

Lynn Ladbrook (CEO Breast Cancer UK) said: “We are pleased that bisphenol A has at last been recognised as a substance of very high concern due to its endocrine disrupting properties. We look forward to measures that will see this substance prohibited from food and drinks packaging and till receipts, as these are the two areas where human exposure is thought to be highest. We also urge the MSC to take proactive measures to regulate bisphenol replacements, such as BPZ and BPS, which are increasingly being used by manufacturers as alternatives to BPA – studies have found that some of these alternatives are equally if not more harmful than BPA.”

See here for details of Breast Cancer UK's response to the proposal to identify BPA as a substance of very high concern due to its endocrine disrupting properties, and other EU consultation responses.

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