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Policy

EU to lower limit for bisphenol A migration from food packaging

European Parliament committee rejects proposal to ban chemical in food contact materials

by Britt E. Erickson
January 22, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 4

A draft European Commission regulation that lowers the amount of bisphenol A (BPA) allowed to migrate into or onto food from packaging materials is expected to be finalized in the coming months.

Members of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health, & Food Safety Committee voted on Jan. 11 to reject a proposal to ban BPA in food packaging. The committee instead endorsed the Commission’s proposal to lower the migration limit from 0.6 mg of BPA per kg of food to 0.05 mg/kg.

BPA is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins found in coatings that line food cans. Concerns about BPA’s estrogenic activity have prompted regulators around the world to evaluate the substance’s risks in materials that contact food. The Commission’s proposal cites “potential health effects of BPA on the mammary gland, reproductive, metabolic, neurobehavioral, and immune systems.”

The draft regulation prohibits any BPA from migrating into infant formula and baby food, essentially banning use of the chemical in materials used for those products.

Environmental and public health activists say the regulation does not go far enough to protect consumers. “The adverse health effects of bisphenol A, even at low doses, are so well documented that it should already have been banned from all consumer products a long time ago,” says Natacha Cingotti, policy officer on health and chemicals at the Health & Environment Alliance, an environmental group.

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