Recently, Bisphenol A (BPA) has come under the spotlight in the global supply chain, as US and European authorities have increasing concerns about the toxicity and safety of oral exposure to the chemical.
BPA is a synthetic chemical used as a monomer in the manufacture of polycarbonates (PC) and epoxy resins. PC can be found in eyeglass lenses, CDs, DVDs, sports bottles, and baby bottles. Epoxy resins are used in printed circuit boards, paints, adhesives, dental sealants, and coatings for the inside of metal cans. BPA may also be used as an antioxidant and inhibitor of end polymerization in PVC.
BPA is known to be an endocrine disruptor that mimics the structure of estrogen (a female sex hormone) and may interfere with the body’s endocrine system, potentially creating adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.
In the past, BPA was governed by European authorities under the food contact regulations, in which the safety concern was mostly focused on PC material. BPA was also added to EN 71-9 requirements, however, due to the fact that it has not been published in The Official Journal of the European Union, it did not draw obvious attention and there was only a migration limit of BPA. Since 2009, several states in the US have begun to include the restriction of BPA into their state regulations. Control of this substance was launched mainly for baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable food and beverage containers for young children. Therefore, some leading retailers have started to include BPA in their restricted substance list, making BPA a common item in various retailers' testing protocols. Unlike European toy safety standard EN 71-9, which governs BPA migration from items, the US market requires more stringent testing that detects the total BPA content.
California Prop 65
On May 11, 2015, BPA was officially relisted on the Prop 65 list of chemicals by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). As such, all products containing BPA that consumers may be exposed to should have a clear and reasonable warning. The control of BPA is no longer limited to only food containers and mouthable items for children under 3 years old; all consumer products are now subject to this regulation.
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