Last reviewed 6 June 2019

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has issued a reminder that bisphenol A (BPA) will, from January 2020, be restricted in thermal paper, for example in cash register receipts, credit card slips, tickets and product labels.

According to a recently published ECHA newsletter, BPA is classified in the EU as a substance that may:

  • damage fertility

  • cause serious eye damage

  • cause allergic skin reactions

  • cause respiratory irritations.

It has also been identified as an endocrine disruptor for human health and as toxic for aquatic life.

In 2016, the European Commission decided to restrict BPA in thermal paper in concentrations of 0.02% or more by weight.

The restriction takes effect on 2 January 2020 and will be key in motivating industry in Europe to move to alternatives to BPA in thermal paper products.

Credit card slips, cash register receipts, tickets and product labels are often made from thermal paper. These pieces of paper are commonly coated with BPA which reacts with a dye precursor to form a colour when exposed to heat.

The EHCA newsletter describes how Coop Danmark has successfully moved away from using BPA in its thermal paper and some other products.

Malene Teller Blume, Quality Manager at Coop Danmark, says, “We began dialogue with scientists, authorities and NGOs and read reports on how other bisphenols had similar properties and would not be safer alternatives. We knew we needed to look beyond bisphenols.”

With this in mind, the company eventually decided to pursue an alternative chemical solution that would avoid the use of bisphenols completely, replacing BPA in thermal paper with Pergafast® 201.

However, she added, “All in all we believe that the future for Coop Danmark is to move away from chemical solutions and pursue electronic ones”.