New report: Regulators shirking responsibility on Bisphenol A

10 July 2008

Harmful chemical should be regulated under REACH

Brussels, 10 July 2008 - Regulators remain oblivious to the harmful effects of a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) widespread in plastic consumer products and need to act urgently to protect consumers, says Friends of the Earth Europe in a report out today.

'Blissfully unaware of Bisphenol A: Reasons why regulators should live up to their responsibilities' reveals that despite firm scientific consensus about the health hazards of the chemical, European authorities are shirking their responsibilities and attempting to postpone any decision on whether this substance should require authorisation until 2013.

The report shows that BPA, which is found in consumer goods such as baby bottles, plastic microwave food containers and canned food linings, has proven links with a wide range of health disorders from infertility and breast and prostate cancer, to thyroid malfunction, attention deficit syndrome and recurrent miscarriage.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is currently reassessing BPA, and is due to give its opinion later this month. Friends of the Earth Europe is concerned that it will continue to ignore overwhelming scientific evidence. In January 2007, despite existing scientific consensus, EFSA allowed for a five fold increase in the accepted daily amount of BPA to which European consumers may be exposed.

The levels of BPA found in human serum, urine, placental tissues and umbilical cord blood are consistent with the levels that have been proven harmful in all studies conducted on animals.

The report comes at a time when the new European framework for the regulation of chemicals, REACH, is entering the implementation phase and could provide an effective means and incentive for phasing out BPA. The newly created European Chemical Agency has just published its first draft list of 'Substances of Very High Concern' and Friends of the Earth Europe is asking for BPA to be included.

David Azoulay, coordinator of the safer chemicals campaign for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "We have now entered the implementation phase of REACH which was supposed to represent a radical new approach to chemicals. It is ironic to see the EU being praised around the world for its supposed new way of dealing with chemicals and at the same time refusing to take the necessary steps to regulate Bisphenol A which should be an obvious target for regulators."



[1] The full report 'Blissfully unaware of Bisphenol A: Reasons why regulators should live up to their responsibilities' is available here.



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