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Policy

EU queues up substances for possible restrictions

by Cheryl Hogue
January 9, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 2

The European Union has taken the first step toward constraining the use of four substances—bisphenol A (BPA), a perfluorinated acid, and two alkylphenols. BPA, which is estrogenic, is widely used in thermal receipt paper, linings of food cans, and some plastics. Perfluorodecanoic acid has been used as a plasticizer, lubricant, surfactant, wetting agent, and a corrosion inhibiter, according to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). It persists in the environment, bioaccumulates, and is toxic for reproduction, ECHA says. One alkylphenol is 4-heptylphenol, which is used in lubricants in both its branched and linear forms. The other is 4-tert-amylphenol, used as an industrial processing aid and sold for research applications. Both have endocrine disrupting properties, ECHA says. All four chemicals are being placed on the EU’s list of substances of very high concern. Chemicals on this list become candidates for strict control under the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals program. Such controls bar the use of a chemical in the EU unless companies obtain special permission, called authorization, from ECHA.

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