Ruling on a case brought by the PlasticsEurope industry association, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has re-confirmed the classification of plasticiser bisphenol A (BPA) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC).

BPA is mainly used as a monomer for the manufacture of polymers such as polycarbonate and epoxy resins.

In their ruling, the judges dismissed the action brought by PlasticsEurope that questioned whether the substance could be considered as being of very high concern because of its endocrine disrupting properties. Substances classified as SVHC are subject to special information requirements. Thus, manufacturers using these substances must inform all other users in the supply chain and consumers and inform them about the risks and safe use.

The SVHC classification by the European Chemicals Agency ECHA was supported in this case by the environmental organisation Client Earth. Apolline Rogers, chemical law attorney at Client Earth, was pleased with the verdict and was pleased with the court's affirmation. "We hope this ruling will lead to more EDCs being identified and encourage the authorities to do so," said Rogers.

Substances that may have serious and often irreversible effects on human health and the environment can be identified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs). If a substance is identified as an SVHC, it will be added to the Candidate List for eventual inclusion in the Authorisation List.

The inclusion in the Candidate List brings immediate obligations for suppliers of the substance, such as:

  • supplying a safety data sheet

  • communicating on safe use

  • responding to consumer requests within 45 days

  • notifying ECHA if the article they produce contains an SVHC in quantities above one tonne per producer/importer per year and if the substance is present in those articles above a concentration of 0.1% (w/w).

Last reviewed 9 October 2019