In an article published on December 21, 2017 by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, reporter Emma Davies informed that the Member States Committee (MSC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has agreed to support the identification of bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) as a “substance of very high concern (SVHC) because of its endocrine disrupting properties causing probably serious effects in the environment.” This identification was originally proposed by Germany, and the MSC’s decision was adopted by a unanimous vote during the MSC’s meeting on December 11-15, 2017.
BPA is already on the REACH Candidate List as an SVHC for two other reasons, namely for being toxic to reproduction (FPF reported) and for having endocrine disrupting properties with probable human health effects (FPF reported).
Natacha Cingotti, health and chemicals policy officer at non-governmental organization Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), commented that “the identification of BPA as an SVHC because of its endocrine properties for both humans and the environment is long overdue and … crucial … to take appropriate action to restrict its use in the future.”
On the contrary, the trade association PlasticsEurope saw the MSC’s decision as “not justified,” similar to the opinion of the concerned groups at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). ACC representative Steven Hentges emphasized that “the very low levels of BPA found in the environment do not result in any significant environmental risk,” and pointed out that scientific data should be evaluated “along with the extensive socioeconomic benefits provided by polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, both polymeric materials based on BPA.”
In its support document, ECHA listed evidence on the estrogenic effects of BPA “causing serious effects on reproduction and development through endocrine disruption in the environment,” and further mentioned BPA’s “long-term effects across generations of aquatic species,” as well as its actions as a thyroid antagonist, along with the adverse endocrine effects reported in invertebrates. Summarizing the data, the document stated that it is “difficult to derive and quantify a safe level of exposure to BPA, although it might exist.”
In the meantime, data demonstrating similar endocrine disrupting actions of BPA substitutes, such as bisphenol S (BPS, CAS 80-09-1), have started to accumulate. Currently, BPS is being evaluated as an endocrine disruptor under the Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) led by Belgium.
Emma Davies (December 21, 2017). “ECHA’s MSC agrees BPA is an endocrine disruptor in the environment.” Chemical Watch
ECHA (December 14, 2017). “Member State Committee support document for identification of 4,4’-isopropylidenediphenol (Bisphenol A, BPA) as a substance of very high concern because of its endocrine disrupting properties (Article 57(f)) causing probable serious effects to the environment which give rise to an equivalent level of concern to those of CMR1 and PBT/vPvB2 properties.” (pdf)