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- Joining forces to improve downstream users' understanding of EU chemicals legislation
- REACH restrictions underway for lead and tattoo inks – where are we?
- Take a tour around Hanna's House of Hidden Hazards
- "What we need now is courage"
- Wanted: safer alternatives for bisphenol A
- Spotlight on science: Entropy, epigenetics and efficiency – the pillars for chemicals policy beyond 2020
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Article related to: People and perspectives
Wanted: safer alternatives for bisphenol A
Credit card slips, bank receipts, logistics labels, cash register receipts or fax paper have something in common: bisphenol A or BPA. In 2014, France proposed to restrict the use of BPA in thermal paper. This year, the European Commission is expected to take the final decision on that. In the meanwhile, companies are getting prepared by finding safer alternatives.
| Dr Aurélien Gouzy. |
Image: Aurélien Gouzy.
In 2015, ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee backed the French proposal to restrict the placing on the market of thermal paper containing bisphenol A*. With the proposal, the search for alternative substances or techniques started.
We spoke with Dr Aurélien Gouzy of INERIS, the French national competence centre for industrial safety and environmental protection, whose organisation is making the substitution of BPA a reality through a website that promotes safer alternatives.
"We have been very active on BPA in France since 2012, when our government published a national strategy on endocrine disruptors. In line with the strategy, the Minister of environment asked large distributors and banks to make a voluntary commitment to use bisphenol-free thermal paper. INERIS was asked to help develop a ‘BPA-free label', which could be issued to every company with a BPA-free policy", Dr Gouzy explains.
The website ‘SNA-BPA' was kicked off in 2012 as an early reaction to the potential restriction. The site provides operational support to companies interested in substituting bisphenols (BPA, BPS and BPF). It is available in French and English. In addition to finding alternatives to BPA in thermal paper, it helps companies to find safer alternatives for BPA in polycarbonate, epoxy resins, food containers and several other applications.
"Users of the website can exchange ideas and information with each other on bisphenols. We encourage industry to share information with us that is relevant to the topic," Dr Gouzy says.
| Table 1. Visits to the ‘SNA-BPA' website. Although the target audience is mainly European industry, 21% of the traffic comes from non-European countries such as the United States, China, Chile and Morocco. |
With over 1 000 visits a month from around the world, the site offers the latest news about the substitution of BPA, technical documents, frequently asked questions and reports, as well as information on the current regulatory framework.
Users can also find resources relating to other bisphenols, such as BPS.
"The FAQ page is regularly updated and reflects the key points that emerge from the information exchange on BPA alternatives. We keep track of the most frequently asked questions and post the answers given by our experts. If needed, third parties help us to draft the answers," Dr Gouzy points out.
Plans for the future phthalates
INERIS's efforts to help companies substitute dangerous chemicals do not stop with bisphenol.
"In 2017, we will launch a similar site on one of the substances from the phthalate family," Dr Gouzy mentions.
"We hope that our ambitious and innovative initiative will be useful for companies worldwide and will foster substitution. Our website could be taken as an example and the idea used for other substances as well – all for the benefit of European competitiveness and innovation."
- French National Guidance Service on the Substitution of Bisphenol A
- Adopted opinions on BPA restriction proposal
- BPA infocard
- ECHA's substitution web pages
- Painting a safer Europe
- Webinar recording: Why opt for substitution
- Terminology - in 23 languages
Did you know?
Subscribe to INERIS's newsletter
If you are interested in receiving information on BPA alternatives directly to your inbox, you can subscribe to the SNA-BPA newsletter.
The newsletter informs about the current state of knowledge on BPA substitution. The next issue will be dedicated to the substitution of BPF and BPS.
* 8 June 2016: deleted 'on the grounds that it is an endocrine disruptor'
Text by Irene Poza Latorre
Top image: Fotolia
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Biocidal Products Committee:
26 February-1 March
Committee for Risk Assessment:
6-8 March and
Committee for Socio-Economic
Management Board meeting:
23-27 March (tentative)
Member State Committee:
20-24 April (tentative)