BPS replaces BPA in thermal paper, Is it really safe?
Since January 2, 2020, the EU has stipulated that if the content of bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper is higher than 0.02%, it cannot be put on the EU market. Since 2017, European paper manufacturers have been slowly replacing BPA with bisphenol S (BPS). By 2022, it is estimated that 61% of all EU thermal paper will be based on bisphenol S (BPS).
The large-scale use of bisphenol S (BPS) in heat sensitive paper has attracted attention, because BPS is suspected to damage human reproductive and other systems. "It is not what regulators or people in the European Union want to see when a substance that is also considered dangerous is used to replace hazardous substances. Our Scientific Committee has said in 2015 that only when the industry chooses alternatives other than BPS, the restriction on BPA in thermal paper can reduce the risk. We need to deepen our understanding of BPS and other bisphenols. To this end, regulatory measures are being taken." Peter van der Zandt, Director of Risk Management, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), said.
Belgian authorities are currently evaluating whether the use of BPS will pose a threat to human health or the environment, and it is expected that a conclusion will be reached by 2021. In addition, Belgium submitted a proposal in 2019 to assess the reproductive toxicity classification and labelling of the substance. The ECHA Risk Assessment Committee is expected to comment on this proposal in the spring of 2021. In addition, ECHA is currently considering bisphenol as a whole rather than as a single substance to collect information for better regulatory strategies on these chemicals.
On June 1, 2020, Switzerland banned thermal paper with bisphenol A and bisphenol S concentration ≥ 0.02% (by weight), becoming a European country that banned both substances in thermal paper.
30% of the thermal paper in the EU is imported from Asia and the United States. With the formal entry into force of the restriction on bisphenol A, relevant enterprises outside the EU should also meet the restriction requirements. They need to know about the control of the relevant countries on the substitute bisphenol S in a timely manner, and investigate the supply chain to calmly respond to changes in regulations.