EU proposes to phase out Bisphenol A over health risks to consumers 

The European Commission has initiated a consultation regarding a draft proposal aimed at phasing out the contentious chemical Bisphenol A in materials that come into contact with food, such as plastic containers, can coatings, and food processing machinery. 

This proposal aligns with the scientific guidance provided by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which determined in April 2023 that current levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure present a health hazard to consumers.

Bisphenol A has been under suspicion for adverse health effects since the late 1990s due to its potential migration into food substances. 

Since 2011, the EU has progressively restricted its use, including bans on its use in polycarbonate baby bottles, thermal receipt paper (2016), and additional limitations in drinking bottles and containers for infants and children, as well as paints and coatings (2018). 

The proposed ban on Bisphenol A extends to food and beverage cans, kitchenware, tableware, and food-related items used in professional food preparation.

Several EU member states—Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, and France—have also enforced their own restrictions on BPA products.

The EU’s Environment Agency also recently warned that public exposure to Bisphenol A exceeds acceptable safety thresholds, largely due to its prevalence in plastic and metal food containers, reusable bottles, and drinking water pipes.

EFSA established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) for Bisphenol A at 0.2 nanograms per kilogram (ng/kg) of body weight, a substantially lower level than the previous provisional TDI of 4 μg/kg (or 4,000 ng/kg) of body weight recommended in its earlier opinion in 2015.

Despite the EU’s actions, there remains no unanimous scientific consensus on the safety of Bisphenol A. The chemical, identified by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) as an endocrine disruptor and a “substance of very high concern,” has sparked divergent opinions among EU and national regulators.

The public consultation remains open until early March, after which, the Commission will propose legislation for approval by member states. 

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