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Consumer Safety

EU regulators eye 34 bisphenols for restriction

by Britt E. Erickson
April 16, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 13


Chemical structure of bisphenol A.

At least 34 of 148 bisphenols need to be regulated because of their reproductive toxicity and endocrine effects, a study by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and European Union member states concludes. That number could grow as new data are generated because many bisphenols lack data to assess such effects in people and the environment, ECHA says in a statement. Bisphenols are used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. They are also found in thermal paper, inks and coatings, adhesives, and textiles. ECHA previously classified three bisphenols—bisphenol A, bisphenol B, and 2-bis(4′-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methylpentane (also known as 4,4′-isobutylethylidenediphenol)—as substances of very high concern. The other bisphenols targeted for regulatory action include bisphenol C, bisphenol F, and bisphenol S, and their derivatives. Bisphenol AF and its eight salts, which are considered per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s definition, are also identified for restrictions. ECHA plans to propose specific restrictions if they are still needed depending on the outcome of an upcoming German proposal to restrict bisphenols and after planned EU regulations on PFAS are in place.


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