EU court rules against PlasticsEurope in BPA case
A recent ruling by the EU Court of Justice concludes that bisphenol A has correctly been categorised as a substance of very high concern for wildlife by the European Chemicals Agency.
Back in 2018 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) ruled that bisphenol A (BPA) should be classified as a substance of very high concern, due to its hormone disrupting properties on wildlife. PlasticsEurope – a trade association representing the plastic industry – has spent five years arguing and appealing against this classification. Last week the EU Court of Justice ruled against PlasticsEurope’s latest appeal, agreeing that ECHA had correctly classified BPA as a substance of very high concern for its hormone disrupting potential on wildlife. ECHA was supported in this latest case by the NGO ClientEarth, who acted as an intervener.
Bisphenols – including BPA – are commonly used in the production of plastics, including food packaging. Bisphenols may leach into our food and drink from food packaging, possibly exposing us to these chemicals. Exposure to bisphenols has been linked to several health issues, including hormonal cancers, heart disease, and reproductive issues. CHEM Trust has been working for many years to call for restrictions of BPA use in products.
Classification as a substance of very high concern means companies who choose to continue using BPA must communicate information about it to customers, clients and public authorities. It also signals to market investors that it is time to seek safer alternatives.
This is not the first time that PlasticsEurope has lost a case against BPA classification – it is, in fact, the fifth time they have taken ECHA to court.
BPA has been classified as a substance of very high concern due to its endocrine-disrupting potential in humans and wildlife, and concerns around its toxicity on reproduction. PlasticsEurope has appealed against all of these rulings. None of their appeals have been successful.
Meanwhile, Germany has submitted a draft restriction dossier to ECHA, which seeks to ban five bisphenols – including BPA.
The restriction proposal is a good step, as it seeks to ban several harmful bisphenols, but as CHEM Trust covered in its Toxic Soup report the group needs to be larger to cover all relevant bisphenols which may be used as regrettable substitutes.