Industry trade association PlasticsEurope has hit out at a report published in June by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (Umweltbundesamt or UBA) recommending that producers and users of bisphenol A adopt alternatives as a precautionary measure.
The report, published June 9. recommends that BPA producers and users switch to alternatives. But Brussels-based PlasticsEurope claims that is a misinterpretation of the European Union's precautionary principle.
The precautionary principle should only be applied if the insecurities in the assessment of a risk are large, for example, when scientific data is either unavailable or insufficient, the trade group said.
However, there is an extensive scientific database on BPA, and experts can assess associated risks comparably well, it said.
On that basis, there is no reason to introduce further restrictions on BPA use, the group said.
The UBA recommendation would replace a well-characterized risk with an unpredictable risk. Providing the necessary scientific data to enable a comprehensive understanding of all relevant aspects of a chemical substance is one of the basic pillars in European safety assessment, said PlasticsEurope.
Also, it said UBA has not investigated the availability of alternative materials and their safety.
The report creates unnecessary anxiety for both the public and downstream users of BPA-based materials and damages the credibility of the existing regulatory assessment process, PlasticsEurope said.
Meanwhile the European Food and Safety Authority, which is charged with delivering scientific advice to the European Commission, has delayed its latest opinion on BPA until it reviews the most recent scientific findings. In March, EFSA outlined its draft opinion on BPA and requested submissions of any new, relevant evidence. Once it considers that new evidence, the EFSA will issue a final opinion.
New data includes the Stump study on possible neurodevelopmental effects of BPA and arguments supporting the Danish government's recent decision to ban it in food-contact materials for infants, EFSA said.
The Danish risk assessment and subsequent restrictions on BPA exposure of children up the age of 3 was based mainly on Stump findings, according to EFSA.