Safer alternatives for bisphenol A

Credit card slips, bank receipts, logistics labels, cash register tickets or fax paper have something in common: bisphenol A or BPA. In 2014, France proposed to restrict the use of BPA in thermal papers and launched a website to support companies in finding safer alternatives.

With the French proposal, the search of alternatives substances or techniques started. Dr Aurélien Gouzy of INERIS, the French national competence centre for industrial safety and environmental protection, is working to make the substitution of BPA a reality through a dedicated support website that promotes safer alternatives for the substance.

“We have been very active on BPA in France since 2012, when our government published a national strategy on endocrine disrupters. In line with the strategy, in 2014, the minister of environment asked large distributors and banks to make a voluntary commitment to use bisphenol free thermal paper. INERIS was asked to help in developing ‘BPA-free label’, which could be issued to every company with a BPA-free policy”, Dr Gouzy explains.

Proactive help

The website project ‘SNA-BPA’ was kicked off in 2012 as an early reaction to the potential restriction. The site provides operational support for companies interested in solutions to substitute bisphenols (BPA, BPS and BPF) in French and English. In addition to the use of BPA in thermal paper, it helps companies to find safer alternatives for BPA in polycarbonate, epoxy resins, food containers and several other applications.

“Users of the webpage can exchange ideas and information with each other on bisphenols. We encourage industry to share relevant information with us”, Dr Gouzy says.

One stop shop

With over 1 000 visits a month worldwide, the site offers latest news about substitution of BPA, technical documents, frequently asked questions and reports, as well as information on the current regulatory framework. Users can also find resources relating to other bisphenols, such as BPS.

“The FAQ page is regularly updated and reflects the key points that emerge from the information exchange on BPA alternatives. We keep track of the most frequently asked questions and post the answers given by our experts. If needed, third parties help us to draft the answers,” Dr Gouzy points out.

Plans for the future: phthalates

INERIS’ efforts to help companies in substituting dangerous chemicals do not stop with bisphenol. “In 2017, we will launch a similar site on one of the substances from the phthalate family,” Dr Gouzy mentions.

“We hope that our ambitious and innovative initiative will be useful for companies worldwide and will foster substitution. Our website could be taken as an example and the idea used for other substances as well – all for the benefit of European competitiveness and innovation.”

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