Thursday, August 2, 2012

EPA Issues Analysis of Alternatives for Bisphenol A (BPA) Uses

The USEPA has issued a draft analysis of alternative chemicals that can be used instead of Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper. According to EPA's Design for the Environmenet (DfE) program:

This draft report is an assessment of 19 chemical alternatives that may substitute for BPA, which is used as a developer in thermal paper. In addition, this report provides background information about how thermal paper is made, and considerations for choosing an alternative. A chemical's inclusion in the report does not constitute EPA endorsement. This draft report does not identify functional chemicals with low concern for all human health and environmental hazard endpoints; all of the alternatives are associated with some trade-offs.

The focus on thermal paper is because it "is widely used for cash register receipts, airline tickets, event and cinema tickets, and grocery store adhesive labels" and because this narrow focus was one area where alternatives exist. In addition, "workers in certain occupations, such as cashiers and restaurant servers who handle thermal paper often, may be at greater risk of exposure." Young children and teenagers entering the workforce may have especially high exposures. Concerns for BPA exposure include endocrine disruption and neurological changes.

The full 492-page PDF can be viewed or downloaded here.

The draft analysis can also be read online as smaller files here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

EPA Identifies Substitutes for Toxic Flame Retardant Chemical

The USEPA has released a draft report on alternatives to the "toxic flame retardant chemical known as decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE)." Acting Assistant Administrator Jim Jones had mentioned at a Senate hearing last week that the Agency was in the final steps of eliminating DecaBDE from products. This new action is part of EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) program. The draft report being released "profiles the environmental and human health hazards on 30 alternatives to decaBDE, which will be phased out of production by December 2013."

EPA notes that "the alternatives to decaBDE characterized in the report are already on the market and will be used increasingly as decaBDE is phased out." EPA also notes that while overall the alternatives are considered good replacements for decaBDE, they have "differing hazard characteristics and are associated with trade-offs."

More information can be found in EPA's news release.

The full 812-page alternatives assessment for decaBDE can be viewed as a PDF here.

More information about the flame retardants alternatives project can be found here.

More information on EPA's DfE program can be found here.