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Bisphenol A: France Sets Limits in Paper and EFSA Lowers Safe Exposure Limits

After prohibiting Bisphenol A (BPA) in certain food contact materials (FCM) and articles for children up to 3 years old[1], France recently clarified the acceptable limits of BPA in paper and board by an announcement in early December 2014[2]. On 21 January 2015 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) significantly lowered the safe exposure level of BPA from 50 to 4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day[3].

BPA is prohibited EU-wide in baby bottles since January 2011. France was the first EU country to ban BPA in all food packaging since 1 January 2015. Law No. 2010-729 of June 30, 2010 as amended by Act No. 2012-1442 of 24 December 2012 suspended the manufacture, import, export and placing on the market free of charge of any packaging, container or utensil containing BPA and intended to come into direct contact with all food since the beginning of this year.

On 8 December 2014 the French Direction Générale de la Concurrence (DGCCRF) further clarified the prohibition by announcing a limit for packaging, containers and utensils made from paper and board.

Based on tests conducted by the National Reference Laboratory contact materials (Laboratory of Common Service Laboratories Bordeaux - SCL33) and taking into account the impossibility of guaranteeing short term the supply is free of BPA during the manufacture of paper and recycled cardboard fiber, the threshold of 2 mg / kg of paper and board is indicated as the presence of threshold BPA corresponding to good manufacturing practices (GMP).

In a parallel study the EFSA has lowered the safe limit for the exposure to BPA by several sources such as diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper. The tolerable daily intake (TDI) has been lowered to 4 micrograms instead of the previous 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day.

While lowering the safe limit the authority finds that effects on reproductive organs, metabolic, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems as well as to the development of cancer are currently not considered likely but could not be excluded on the basis of available data. This estimation is based on the fact that real exposure to BPA is estimated to be 3 – 5 times lower than the current TDI. Consequently the EFSA concluded that there is currently no consumer health risk from BPA exposure.

Due to its role EFSA can scientifically establish but not legally implement substance limits. It is within the responsibility of the European legislator to establish legal limits in food contact materials.

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy for BPA, phthalates and other restricted substances in consumer products for the EU and international markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Email SGS Hong Kong Ltd. at mktg.hk@sgs.com for enquiries or visit http://www.sgsgroup.com.hk/.


[1] SGS-Safeguards 008/13

[2] France recently clarified the acceptable limits  of BPA

[3] EFSA

Content provided by SGS Hong Kong Limited
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