The new strategy document is informed by the decision of several member states – Belgium, Denmark and France – to implement national legislation to restrict the use of the chemical, which is reputed to have endocrine disrupting effects. It is also necessary to respond to the decision by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) in January 2015 to lower its recommended tolerable daily intake (TDI) of BPA from 50μg/kg to 4μg/kg.
In its roadmap the commission states that: ‘Based on new data and methodologies – a new [specific migration limit (SML)] is in turn warranted on the basis of this new TDI.’ The current SML for BPA in plastic food contact materials is set at 0.6mg/kg.
The officials in Brussels also believe a harmonised pan-community approach will make it easier for businesses to negotiate the different obligations for BPA being introduced by national governments. The policy document goes on to acknowledge that industry is taking steps to substitute away from BPA in most applications, but that the national restrictions have entered into effect before the necessary scientific qualification can be completed for these alternatives.
A range of five policy options for BPA are being considered, including the redefinition of the SML, by the commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante). These range in severity from taking no new steps, to a total ban on BPA in all EU member states. DG Sante has a deadline of deciding which option is most appropriate in Q2 2016.
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