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Environment

EPA Assesses BPA, DecaBDE Alternatives

by Britt E. Erickson
August 6, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 32

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Credit: Shutterstock
BPA is used in paper for cash register receipts, movie tickets, and airline boarding passes.
09032-govcon-receiptscxd.jpg
Credit: Shutterstock
BPA is used in paper for cash register receipts, movie tickets, and airline boarding passes.

EPA and stakeholders including manufacturers, technical experts, and international government officials have identified and evaluated 19 potential alternatives to the estrogenic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper, such as cash register receipts. These alternatives are discussed in a draft assessment that EPA’s Design for the Environment program issued on July 31. The day before, the program released a draft assessment on 30 alternatives to the brominated flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE). Both draft assessments are intended to assist regulators and help industry find suitable alternatives to the chemicals. DecaBDE has been used in many consumer goods, including electronics, wire insulation, automobile cushions, and textiles. U.S. manufacturers and the largest U.S. importer of decaBDE have agreed to phase out all uses of the substance by the end of 2013 because of concerns that the compound persists in the environment, bioaccumulates, and causes harmful developmental effects. Both BPA and decaBDE have been under scrutiny by EPA and are included in the agency’s action plans for chemicals that may pose health and environmental concerns.

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