SGS Helps Manufacturers Understand International Rules on the Use of BPA in Food Contact Materials

Top Quote SGS expert, Dr Hing Wo Tsang, gives an overview of international regulations affecting the use of BPA in food contact materials to help manufacturers correctly access their target markets. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) October 17, 2018 - Authorities around the world have recognized the harmful effects of Bisphenol A (BPA), especially when used in food contact materials and articles (FCM). To prevent harm to consumers many jurisdictions now regulate BPA in FCM, meaning it is important for manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to understand the relevant laws that apply to their target markets.

    BPA is an industrial chemical used primarily in the manufacture of polycarbonate (PC) plastics and epoxy resins. It has long been recognized as a substance that can cause damage to fetuses, babies and young children because of its estrogenic hormone-like properties and effects on brain development. When used in FCM, studies have shown that BPA can be released into food and beverages. This can be especially true when hot water is added to formula milk powder in a baby bottle containing BPA.

    BPA can be found in a wide variety of contexts, including epoxy resins used as a protective lining on the inside of aluminum-based food cans and containers. It is also used in PC plastic, which has several uses, including:

    • Mobile phone and tablet accessories
    • Electronic equipment
    • Eyewear/eyeglasses
    • Food contact materials and articles such as baby bottles, storage containers and reusable water bottles
    • Medical and dental devices
    • Optical discs such as compact discs (CDs) and digital versatile disks (DVDs)
    • Sports safety equipment such as helmets and protective sports visors
    • Thermal receipt paper

    Restrictions on the use on BPA vary around the world, making it difficult for manufacturers to understand the correct legislation to comply with for their target market.

    European Union
    In the European Union (EU), BPA has been reclassified as reprotoxic category 1B, from reprotoxic category 2, by ATP-9 to Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 on ‘Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP Regulation). Relevant regulations regarding its restriction, include:

    • Regulation (EU) 2016/2235 amending Annex XVII of REACH - thermal paper: ≤ 0.02% (BPA content) (200 mg/kg), January 2, 2020
    • Directive (EU) 2017/898 amending 2009/48/EC - toys for children under 36 months or other toys intended to be placed in the mouth: ≤ 0.04 mg/L, November 26, 2018
    • Regulation (EU) 2018/213 amending Regulation (EC) 10/2011: September 6. 2018
    o Food contact plastics: ≤ 0.05 mg/kg
    o Food contact varnished or coated products: ≤ 0.05 mg/kg
    o Food contact varnished or coated materials and articles for young children for food categories under Regulation (EU) 609/2013: Prohibited
    o PC drinking cups or bottles for infants and young children: Prohibited (BPA content)

    In addition, some EU Member States also have national prohibitions on the use of BPA. These include:
    • Ban on BPA in FCM intended for young children in Belgium and Denmark
    • Ban on BPA in baby bottles, teethers, collar shields in soothers and FCM in France
    • BPA prohibited in pacifiers and teethers in Austria
    • Ban on paints and coatings in food packaging for children 0-3 years old in Sweden

    United States of America
    In the US, stakeholders need to be aware that BPA is regulated at a federal, state and county level, although the scope of these regulations varies. At a Federal level, epoxy resins that are derived from BPA and epichlorohydrin are prohibited as coatings in packaging for powdered and liquid infant formula.

    Local jurisdictional regulations for BPA in food contact containers or bottles for young children also include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Multnomah County (Oregon), Nevada, New York State, Vermont, Washington, Washington DC and Wisconsin.

    The ban in New York State is unique because it also covers pacifiers and Wisconsin requires the use of a label indicating that a product does not contain BPA. The following states subject children’s products with BPA to reporting rules:
    • Maine: Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products (Title 38, Chapter 16-D, Priority Chemicals (PCs))
    • Oregon: ORS § 431A.253 to § 431A.280 (High Priority Chemicals of Concern for Children’s Health, (HPCCCHs)
    • Vermont: 18 V.S.A. Chapter 38A (Chemicals of High Concern to Children, CHCCs)
    • Washington: RCW Chapter 70.240 (Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA), Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCCs))

    Stakeholders operating in the US also need to be aware of California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) – the ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’. This requires the state to publish a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. BPA was first listed in April 2013, as a chemical known to cause developmental toxicity, but was removed within two weeks. It is now listed as a chemical known to cause female reproductive toxicity (May 2015).

    Since May 2016, several businesses have been subject to enforcement actions when they failed to warn consumers about possible exposure to BPA. Settlements include:
    • Cell phone cases: ≤ 3.0 ppm otherwise warning
    • Polycarbonate dishware : BPA-free otherwise warning
    • Thermal paper: < 10 ppm

    Finally, several other countries have legislation designed to either restrict or prohibit the use of BPA in food contact products, especially those designed and intended for use by young children. These include Argentina, Australia (voluntary phase out), Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

    Manufacturers need to understand these relevant regulations and ensure their products comply with the regulations employed by their target markets.

    SGS Food Contact Materials Services
    SGS’s technical experts have extensive experience of testing materials and articles in contact with food. They can ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. SGS offers the full range of testing, including migration tests, along with expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review. Learn more about SGS’s Home Furnishings & Houseware Services. []

    For further information contact:

    Hing Wo Tsang Ph.D
    Global Information and Innovation Manager
    Tel:(+852) 2774 7420
    Email: ( @ ) sgs dot com

    About SGS
    SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.

  • FB Icon Twitter Icon In-Icon
Contact Information