The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has labelled a commonly used industrial chemical as a threat to human health because of its damaging effect on hormones in a move that could see its use restricted. One of the world’s best selling chemicals, Bisphenol A, is found in everyday items such as water bottles, dental fillings, and household electronics. Since its discovery in 1957 it has played a transformative role in industrial processing, driving the development of the durable plastic products that we have come to take granted as consumers. Green campaigners, however, have long pointed to Bisphenol A as being an ‘endocrine disruptor’ linked to cancer, infertility, asthma and other illnesses. It’s designation as an endocrine disruptor, adding to previous findings that it can be toxic to human and animal reproduction will reinforce calls for it to be banned.
“Now BPA is finally recognised as an endocrine disruptor, the EU and national governments must act fast to limit the irreversible damage this chemical does to people and the environment,” said Alice Bernard, a lawyer with Client Earth, who advocate and litigate on behalf of the environment. The decision is certain to meet with resistance from the chemicals industry which has already been constrained from using Bisphenol A in the production of toys, baby’s bottles and paper receipts. The ECHA is the European Union agency in charge of administering the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulation, known as REACH. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, a spokesperson for the ECHA said that on foot of the unanimous decision to label Bisphenol A as an endocrine disruptor, the agency will likely move to have its use further restricted, perhaps as early as next year.