Europe's plastics industry has dismissed as an “unrealistic simplification” a French government report into alternatives to bisphenol A (BPA), which is due to be banned in all food packaging across the country starting Jan. 1.
France banned the use of BPA in products such as feeding bottles for young children and babies four years ago, and in less than a months' time the material will be banned in food packaging entirely.
The government's 70-page report, which is only published in French, said that “industry representatives say that at the current stage of testing the results are satisfactory for the large majority of the substitutes used, and they believe they will be broadly ready” for the new law.
However this view was contested by Plastics Europe, the trade body which represents European plastics interests, which said the conclusion did not represent industry consensus about the situation regarding alternatives to BPA.
“We are concerned the report may be misinterpreted as confirmation that a switch to alternatives other than BPA based products would be immediately feasible and comparably easy,” said Ralf Maecker, of Plastics Europe's Epoxy Resin Group.
“This interpretation would be an unrealistic simplification of the challenges, and it contradicts to a large extent industry's own assessment that was also presented to the French regulators.”
Plastics Europe argued that the report “provides no robust safety assessment of the proposed alternatives.
“For many of them, toxicological behavior during long term exposure to food, and, as a consequence, humans, is far less well understood or documented than for BPA.”
Jasmin Bird of the polycarbonate/BPA Group at Plastics Europe, said: “It is concerning to see that the report into potential BPA substitutes, published just seven weeks before the proposed restriction, fails to accurately describe the challenges and difficulties that will arise in France through an ultimately unjustified replacement of BPA – a well-tested and high-performing substance approved for use across the world in the packaging applications that the report addresses.”