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Swedish Chemicals Agency Monitors Hazardous Effects of Bisphenols, Alongside New Investigation into Potential Hazards in Rubber, Silicon and Paper

On 31 August 2017, the Swedish Chemicals Agency (the SCA) released a report which identifies 37 bisphenols used in products on the European market, which may have endocrine disrupting properties. Bisphenol A (BPA) has already been restricted by EU regulators because of its harmful effects on human reproductive capability. The study therefore looked at an additional 200 bisphenols with a similar structure to ascertain whether potential substitutes in future products could be equally harmful.

BPA is mainly used in the manufacture of plastics; in particular thermal paper products such as cash receipts. In 2016, BPA was classified as harmful to fertility. The REACH Regulation bans BPA's use in thermal paper with a concentration equal to or above 0.02% by weight. This restriction comes into force on 3 Jan 2020. Baby bottles containing BPA are banned in Europe since 1 June 2011.

Among the more than 200 bisphenols investigated by the SCA, 37 were found to have endocrine disrupting properties similar to BPA. Whereas six of these were found to be problematic from a risk perspective and should be prioritised for restriction, the same six are already being scrutinised by EU regulators for potential inclusion under REACH. The SCA will therefore continue to monitor the remaining 31 bisphenols, but is not at this time suggesting further legislative action. The Agency will also reach out to relevant companies and industries in Sweden about the results of the report, and will initiate dialogue where necessary.

Please click on the following for the full report (in Swedish, with an English summary at p. 9).

Furthermore, in collaboration with a consulting firm, the SCA was set to investigate the prevalence of hazardous chemicals in materials commonly found in consumer products not yet subject to EU restrictions. The investigation was to focus on the following five areas:

1. Chemicals in rubber and silicone.

2. Chemicals in paper and cardboard.

3. Chemicals in hygienic products for intimate use.

4. Microplastics in chemical products.

5. Chemical requirements in environmental labelling.

Investigations of these areas were to be conducted during the autumn of 2017, with preliminary conclusions to be delivered to the Swedish Government in September 2018, and final conclusions in December 2020.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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