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The European Union Proposes Further Restrictions on BPA Use

In a September 5, 2017 notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Commission (EC) announced its intention to further restrict the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in certain food-contact materials. This recently notified draft Regulation (EU) on the use of bisphenol A in varnishes and coatings intended to come into contact with food and amending Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 as regards the use of that substance in plastic food contact materials replaces the version notified to WTO on March 14, 2016. 

The 2016 draft regulation proposed a specific migration limit (SML) of 0.05 mg/kg for BPA (by contrast to the current SML set out in the Plastics Regulation (EU) No. 10/2011 of 0.6 mg/kg) and maintained the current restriction that BPA may not to be used in the manufacture of polycarbonate infant feeding bottles.  In the 2017 draft the SML was changed from “SML = 0.05 mg/kg” to “SML = 0.05 mg/kg/ND *”, where ND = non-detect.  The non-detect limit is 0.01 mg/kg by fault in accordance with the Plastics Regulation (EU) No. 10/2011, given that no non-detect limit was specified.  In the case at hand the ND limit refers to the following application: “*[n]o migration of BPA is permitted from plastic materials and articles specifically intended to be bought into contact with food for infants and young children as defined by Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council.”  Again, the current restriction that BPA may not to be used in the manufacture of polycarbonate infant feeding bottles is maintained in the most recent draft.    

Of note, in contrast to the French BPA law, the new restriction introducing the non-detect limit does not ban the use of BPA; rather, it proposes to ban the migration of BPA for the specific applications subject to the non-detect limit. In practice, though, brand owners will likely request that BPA not be used in food-contact materials and articles for infants and young children.

The EC launched a public consultation on the draft BPA Regulation that is open through September 20, 2017.