The European Parliament has decided to confirm the European Commission proposal to lower Bisphenol A in food packaging. It has, however, shied away from a full ban.
The European Parliament has approved measures that will lower the amount of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging. On Wednesday (11 January), MEPs on the Environment, Food and Public Health Committee endorsed a European Commission proposal which lowers the Specific Migration Limit (SML), applicable to plastics, coatings, and varnishes for metals and other sources of BPA in contact with food, from 0.06 mg/kg to 0.05 mg/kg. This is a step towards an eventual ban on this potentially hazardous material, according to MEP Miriam Dalli.
The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) reacted to the news by blaming the MEPs for not banning BPA altogether. It said they failed to protect citizens’ health and will “mainly benefit” the chemical industry. Natacha Cingotti, HEAL’s policy officer on health and chemicals, was in favour of a full ban: “The adverse health effects of BPA, even at low doses, are so well documented that it should already have been banned from all consumer products a long time ago – citizens shouldn’t have to worry that their food wrapper or packaging contains BPA which might seep into their food and harm their health.“
This decision comes amid growing concerns about the dangerous effects that BPA could have due to its endocrine disrupting abilities. Last June, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) voted unanimously to identify BPA as a substance of very high concern on the grounds that “it is a substance with endocrine disrupting properties for which there is a scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health”.
Others defended the decision, calling it pragmatic. “If we agree with the objection we end up having no proposal at all, no legislation in place at all and that would mean that we are not able to protect our children. With the proposal from the Commission, even though it’s not ambitious enough, we will still be able in the next six months to protect our children against exposure from BPA in materials in contact with food,” said Christel Schaldemose, spokesperson on the file for the Parliament’s Socialist and Democrat group.
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