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EU Expert Committee Recommends Ban on Bisphenols in Food Packaging
EU Expert Committee Recommends Ban on Bisphenols in Food Packaging

EU Expert Committee Recommends Ban on Bisphenols in Food Packaging

  • 14-Jun-2024 11:58 AM
  • Journalist: Jacob Kutchner

In a significant move to safeguard consumer health, an expert committee representing EU member states has recently voted to enact a ban on specific bisphenols, notably bisphenol A (BPA), within food contact materials (FCMs). This decision, driven by concerns over the toxic effects of these chemicals on reproductive health and their classification as endocrine disruptors, marks a pivotal step towards reducing public exposure to harmful substances.

Bisphenols such as BPA are commonly used in the production of polymers, resins, and coatings for various packaging materials including plastic, cans, and cardboard. Despite their widespread application, scientific studies have increasingly linked these chemicals to serious health implications, ranging from breast cancer and infertility to neurological disorders in children.

The European Commission (EC) had laid the groundwork for this regulatory action earlier in the year, presenting a draft regulation aimed at imposing stringent restrictions on the use of BPA and related bisphenols in FCMs. This proposed ban, now supported by the expert committee of EU member states, seeks to effectively prohibit the manufacturing and market access of FCMs containing these hazardous substances.

Sandra Jen, leading the health and chemicals programme at the Health and Environment Alliance, expressed approval for the committee's decision, emphasizing its importance in mitigating public exposure to harmful chemicals. "The endorsement by EU member state experts to endorse restrictions on bisphenol A (BPA) and other bisphenols in the majority of food packaging marks a long-awaited measure to diminish public exposure to these hazardous chemicals," she remarked. Additionally, Jen advocated for extending such restrictions to encompass all consumer products beyond food contact materials, underscoring the broader health and environmental benefits of comprehensive chemical regulation.

Moving forward, the approved proposal will undergo scrutiny from the European Parliament and the European Council. If endorsed without opposition during this review process, the regulation could be enacted by the year's end. To facilitate industry adaptation, transitional periods of up to three years are envisioned as part of the implementation strategy within the EU market.

In conclusion, the EU's decision to ban bisphenols in food packaging represents a watershed moment in chemical safety regulation, aiming to mitigate health risks associated with these pervasive substances. As the regulatory framework evolves, stakeholders are poised to drive innovation towards safer and more environmentally sound packaging practices, ensuring that consumer safety and sustainability remain at the forefront of industry priorities.

Bisphenols find extensive application in the coatings of cans and cardboard packaging. BPA is a chemical compound predominantly employed in the production of diverse plastics. It is a colorless solid that dissolves readily in most common organic solvents but exhibits low solubility in water.

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