Bisphenol A (BPA) – performance measurement evaluation

Phenol, 4,4'-(1-methylethylidene) bis
CAS Registry Number 80-05-7

BPA was identified as a concern to human health and the environment based on the results of a screening assessment completed in 2008. As a result, the Government of Canada added BPA to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).

At the time of the assessment, BPA was a high-volume chemical used primarily to make polycarbonate - a hard, clear plastic with wide application in products available to consumers. The sources of exposure to humans from BPA were: certain food packaging materials, repeat use containers, environmental media (for example, indoor air and drinking water) and consumer products.  Releases of BPA to the environment may occur during the production, processing, use or disposal of the substance or products containing it.

Health component

The proposed human health objective for BPA was to minimize infant exposure to the greatest extent practicable. The proposed health risk management objective for BPA was to achieve the lowest level of release to infant formula and from polycarbonate baby bottles that was technically and economically feasible. Health Canada took action by banning the manufacture, importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles that contain BPA. Health Canada has worked with industry to successfully phase out the use of BPA-containing packaging for liquid infant formula products available for sale in Canada.  Previous surveys by Health Canada had already demonstrated that BPA was not detectable in canned powdered infant formula products.

The performance measurement evaluation for the BPA health component found that since the ban on polycarbonate baby bottles that contain BPA, and the phase out of BPA-containing packaging for liquid infant formula, there has been a 96% decrease in exposure of infants to BPA who were bottle fed.

The performance measurement evaluation concluded that the risk management actions taken have achieved their desired results by protecting the health of Canadians from the concerns identified in the screening assessment, published in 2008. The performance measurement evaluation concluded that no further risk management action is required at this time. However, the Government of Canada will continue to monitor and review new information on BPA and will take additional action if required.

Complete details on the performance measurement evaluation of the health component for BPA can be found in Bisphenol A (BPA) risk management approach: performance evaluation for BPA-HEALTH component.

Eco component

The proposed environmental objective was to prevent or minimize releases of BPA into the Canadian environment. The proposed ecological risk management objective was to achieve the lowest level of release of BPA to water that is technically and economically feasible.

To protect the environment, the Government of Canada put in place a Pollution Prevention Planning Notice for industrial and commercial users of BPA, and implemented an Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting Bisphenol A in Paper Recycling Mill Effluents. 

The performance measurement evaluation for the BPA ecological component compared environmental concentration values to the Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines for BPA and found that the current concentration of BPA in surface water is well below levels considered protective to aquatic life, and is generally decreasing in areas where risk management actions have taken place. The performance measurement evaluation also found that 99% of sediment samples taken had concentrations of BPA below levels considered protective to aquatic life.

The performance measurement evaluation concluded that no further risk management action is required at this time. The evaluation recommends that sediment sampling continue in order to monitor the concentration of BPA.

Complete details on the performance measurement evaluation of the ecological component for BPA can be found in Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Risk Management Measures for Bisphenol A (BPA) – Ecological Component.

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