It claims BPA contained in thermal coating layers migrates to the fingers or any objects in contact with it. The ban is in respect to top coated thermal paper (or ‘protected thermal papers’) used in adhesive labels for food packaging, for example.
January 2015 second phase
Dr Michael Warhurst, executive director, CHEM Trust, told FoodProductionDaily, the EU is currently deciding whether to accept a French government request to ban the use of BPA in thermal paper.
The second phase of France’s ban on BPA became effective on January 1, 2015. This law prohibits the use of BPA in all packaging, containers and utensils intended to come into direct contact with food.
During the first phase, effective from January 1, 2013, BPA was banned in food contact materials (FCMs) intended for use by children up to three years of age. The French law is not harmonized with the European legislation on FCMs.
“The French ban is only for food packaging,” said Warhurst.
“The thermal paper issue is separate, and France is asking for an EU-wide ban, not just in France.”
Thermal paper is used in many applications such as point-of-sales (POS) tickets and receipts, self-adhesive labels, lottery tickets or fax paper.
The paper is composed of a base paper which is coated with at least one chemical layer. This chemical layer is a thermal reactive coating made with binders, dyes and one developer such as BPA.
BPA substitution is underway
BPA is a dye developer largely used in thermal paper in the EU (estimated at around 70%) and in the world (although substitution is already underway).
It is called “thermal” because it is then used in direct printing devices, placed under a heating printhead which allows the images and characters to appear.
It is imported into Europe from extra-EU thermal paper manufacturers mainly from Korea (Hansol), Japan and USA ( Appvion, formerly Appleton Papers) and China (Jinan Fuzhi Paper Co.).
In the report by ECHA it claims: “With respect to top coated thermal paper (or ‘protected thermal papers’) most often used for transportation tickets, cinema tickets and adhesive labels (food packaging, etc.), for example, BPA seems to not been used since 2000 according to a French manufacturer of top coated thermal paper.
“However, this claim is not supported by any available study.
“Although top coatings might reduce the migration of BPA from the tickets, it cannot be excluded that BPA might still migrate from them and generate some risk.
“For these reasons, the restriction proposed aims to cover all types of thermal paper, from point-of-sales applications (namely ‘ecopaper’) to top coated ‘protected’ thermal applications.
“Moreover, from a control and enforcement perspective, it would be difficult to distinguish between thermal papers produced for one application or another, especially because ‘thermal paper’ is not explicitly defined and categorized as such in the existing classifications for products and articles (Prodcom and TARIC in particular).”
It added, as regards the measurement of BPA content in thermal paper, there is no standard analytical method to measure the content of BPA in thermal paper today in the EU but several methods still exist and can be used for that purpose.