UpdateUS EPA could add BPA to chemicals of concern list

29 March 2010 22:10  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds American Chemistry Council reaction in paragraph 9)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Monday it will scrutinise bisphenol A's (BPA) effect on the environment and possibly add it to its “chemicals of concern” list. 

The EPA’s action could add more pressure to limit the use of BPA in food packaging. Placing BPA on the agency’s “chemicals of concern” list would open the door for further regulation of the chemical, a feedstock for polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resin.

The EPA now joins the US Food and Safety Administration (FDA) in re-evaluating the health effects of BPA after studies linked the chemical to cancer, heart disease and reproductive system defects.

“We share FDA’s concern about the potential health impacts from BPA,” Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s office of prevention, pesticides and toxic substances, said in a statement. “Both EPA and FDA, and many other agencies are moving forward to fully assess the environmental and health impacts to ensure that the full range of BPA’s possible impacts are examined.”

The agency estimates more than 1m lbs (454 tonnes) of BPA are released into the environment every year in the US.

The EPA said it plans to require manufacturers to help the agency evaluate possible impacts the chemical could have on wildlife. The agency will also seek to measure BPA concentrations in water and could look for ways to reduce exposure to the chemical. 

US manufacturers Bayer, Dow Chemical, Hexion and SABIC Innovative Plastics have an estimated combined 985,000 tonnes/year of BPA production capacity.

BPA producers did not immediately return calls for comment.

Meanwhile, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) trade association released a statement reiterating its belief that BPA has minimal effects on human health.

For more on BPA visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
By: Ben Lefebvre
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