France has recently notified the EC of a draft decree that bans BPA used in food contact packaging for children under the age of three, and pregnant and feeding mothers. The rule comes into force on 1 October 2013 until a BPA ban takes effect on 1 January 2015.
Packaging containing BPA must also carry a health-warning label for pregnant and feeding mothers. The draft decree was notified to the Commission and is now on standstill until 5 August 2013 so as to give the Commission and Member States time to give their comments or voice any opposition.
The implementing Decree applies to the “manufacturing, importing, exporting or marketing for free or for profit any packaging, container or utensil containing BPA, intended to enter into direct contact with foodstuffs”. As a result, from 1 October 2013 and until 1 January 2015, all packaging containing BPA sold to the final consumer will have to include one of the two following warning labels:
* “Packaging made using Bisphenol A. Use not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women or for children under three”;
* “Made using Bisphenol A. Use not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women or for children under three”.
Residues of BPA can also be found in linings for food and beverage cans and containers. The chemical can leach into food, and a study of over 2,000 people found that more than 90 percent of them had BPA in their urine. Traces have also been found in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women and umbilical cord blood.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in July that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A or BPA, an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and food packaging. Manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the F.D.A. said that its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out.
But the new ban does not apply more broadly to the use of BPA in other containers, said an FDA spokesman. Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the agency, said the decision simply codified what the industry was already doing based on the preference of consumers and did not reflect concerns about the safety of BPA in baby bottles or toddler’s cups.