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Are there safer alternatives to Bisphenol A in thermal paper?

The French government has proposed that there should be a ban on the use of hormone disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper (e.g. till receipts) – but industry is now arguing that the alternatives are less well understood.

Since the French Government’s proposal for an EU wide ban on BPA in thermal paper, which CHEM Trust has supported, further research has been published showing how the BPA in thermal paper receipts can migrate into our bloodstream if the conditions are right.

In the meantime, parts of industry that specialise in BPA are, not surprisingly, gearing up to oppose this ban, as reported by Chemical Watch, disagreeing with the French Government’s claims regarding availability of alternatives to BPA. This is a pretty standard part of the debate on taking any chemical off the market, which usually involves the chemical industry questioning how much they know about the safety of the alternatives, even if they are already producing them in substantial quantities.

A second part of the industry’s argument is over the toxicity of BPA, which is a very contested issue (see our page on Bisphenol A for more on this & other news on BPA in our blog). In particular, all parties are waiting for the publication of an assessment by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).

CHEM Trust has many concerns regarding this assessment, and we are quoted in the Chemical Watch story:

Efsa’s assessment is eagerly awaited by stakeholders, who shared mixed opinions on the authority’s research at a meeting, earlier this year. NGOs have since called on it to recommend measures to ensure protection against BPA effects on the mammary gland, says Gwynne Lyons, policy director at ChemTrust. “I feel that Efsa is focused on protecting industry rather than protecting the unborn child,” she says.  

Update

The EFSA assessment of BPA has been published, for more information see here.