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EU finally recognises Bisphenol A as an endocrine disruptor for human health

Helsinki/Brussels, 16 June 2017 - The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) today recognised bisphenol A (BPA) as a substance of very high concern because of its endocrine disrupting properties for humans. [1]. This is a big step in protecting Europeans’ health and illustrates the need to speed up the pace in identifying and regulating EDCs at EU level.

The decision was taken unanimously in the ECHA Member States Committee, which met this week in Helsinki. [2] France had proposed for BPA, which has already been classified as toxic for reproduction [3], to be placed on the ECHA list of substances of very high concern (SVHC) as an endocrine disruptor for other adverse health effects (on mammary gland development, cognitive functions, and metabolism). [4]

Natacha Cingotti, Health and Chemicals policy officer at the Health and Environment Alliance, said: "Endocrine disrupting chemicals that are omnipresent such as bisphenol A are one of the defining human health challenges of our times. The recognition of BPA as a substance of very high concern because of its endocrine disrupting properties for humans is long overdue and of crucial importance so that measures to reduce people’s exposure to the substance can be introduced in the future."

The very well documented and structured dossier prepared by France was the basis of intense debates in the Member States Committee. [4] This illustrates why it is crucial to get identification criteria for EDCs right in the discussions currently happening in parallel in the context of the pesticides law. [5]

"Although the adverse effects of BPA have been documented extensively, the difficulties to get it recognised as an endocrine disruptor is yet another reminder of the critical importance to get the proposed EDC criteria right in the EU pesticides committee in the coming weeks,” added Natacha Cingotti.

We urge France to hold its line in favour of strong criteria, rejecting the current proposal discussed in the context of the pesticides law, and other countries to follow them".

Background:

BPA is a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and the linings of aluminium food and drink cans. It is widely considered to have endocrine disrupting effects and evidence has been mounting that BPA may have adverse health consequences for reproduction, the nervous system, the immune system, and for cancer risks (e.g. breast cancer), as well as for the metabolic and cardiovascular systems. [6] Until now, it was only recognised by the EU as a substance of very high concern because of its effects on reproduction.


Contacts:

Natacha Cingotti - Policy Officer, Chemicals & Health +32 4 9294 8898 natacha@env-health.org

Elke Zander - Communications and Media Coordinator +32 2 234 36 47 elke@env-health.org

Notes to the editor:

Notes to the editor

[1] https://echa.europa.eu/-/msc-unanimously-agrees-that-bisphenol-a-is-an-endocrine-disruptor

https://www.anses.fr/en/content/bisphenol-recognised-echa-its-endocrine-disrupting-properties-based-proposal-france

[2] HEAL is an accredited stakeholder in the ECHA Member State Committee. See: https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/13578/list_aso_msc_observers_en.pdf/422422d2-5548-46ab-86eb-f9e698c1207b
[3] http://www.env-health.org/news/late...
[4] This follows the recent recognition of four phthalates - DEHP, DIBP, DBP and BBP - as EDCs for human health. http://www.env-health.org/resources/press-releases/article/europe-finally-recognises-four
[5] The EDC Free coalition, for which HEAL is acting as a secretariat, has called for horizontal criteria that could apply across different legislations. NGOs have criticised the criteria on the table for pesticides as non-scientific, inefficient, and unworkable, because they request too high a burden of proof for the identification of endocrine disruptors and they would let numerous ED chemicals off the hook. For more information, see: http://www.edc-free-europe.org/further-delay-on-flawed-edc-criteria-maintains-unnecessary-risks-on-human-health-and-the-environment/
[6] The adverse evidence of BPA has been widely documented. Recent examples include this report by the Danish Environment Protection Agency, documenting the effects of endocrine disrupting substances on children under three and pregnant women/unborn children: http://www2.mst.dk/Udgiv/publications/2017/04/978-87-93529-84-7.pdf

Originally posted on 16 June 2017

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