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BPA being replaced by BPS in thermal paper, ECHA survey finds


Results of a market survey conducted by ECHA show the volume of bisphenol S (BPS) used as developer in thermal paper manufactured in the EU doubled between 2016 and 2017.

Helsinki, 22 May 2018 – EU paper manufacturers have started to substitute BPA with BPS, according to a survey conducted by ECHA for the European Commission.

The amount of BPS used as developer in thermal paper on the EU market almost doubled between 2016 and 2017. Reflecting the overall increase in the use of thermal paper in the EU in 2017, BPA use also increased in the same time period.

Table 1: Developers used in thermal paper placed on the EU market by EU manufacturers in 2016 and 2017 (tonnes).

Developer 2016 2017 Change
Bisphenol A 2 606 2 776 +7 %
Bisphenol S 200 397 +98 %
Other developers 1 065 1 022 -4 %
Total 3 871 4 195 +8 %

Source: European Thermal Paper Association

About 30 % of thermal paper in the EU is imported from China, India, Japan, Korea and the US. Unfortunately, information on how the use of different developers in these products changed during the inspected time period was not available for the survey.

The market share of BPS-based thermal papers is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, and in particular after 2 January 2020, when BPA can no longer be used in thermal paper in the EU.

The substitution of BPA by BPS is worrisome given that ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee in its opinion on BPA indicated that BPS “is suspected to have many of the same adverse health effects as BPA”.

ECHA has been following the use of developers in thermal paper – and in particular the replacement of BPA with BPS and other developers – in the EU at the Commission’s request. The market survey’s report will be used by the Commission as it considers whether a proposal to restrict BPS is necessary. ECHA will carry out the next survey in early 2019.