Chemicals made from vegetable or animal waste may be an alternative to the use of the substance bisphenol-A (BPA) in thermal paper. Thermal paper is widely used for cash register receipts. Promising alternatives are lacking in the current proposal to the European Commission to reduce the use of BPA.
This emerged from a report by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, commissioned by RIVM. BPA has effect on the endocrine system. The Dutch government encourages the production of safe alternatives derived from renewable raw materials. Biomass can be such a sustainable source.
Alternatives from biomass for BPA in thermal paper are, amongst others, derivatives of gallic acid, a component of tannin. Tannin is common in nature and is found in wood and fruits.
Commissioned by RIVM, Wageningen UR researchers have studied EU Member State France's analysis of alternatives to BPA. Wageningen UR focused on the availability, technical and economic feasibility of the alternatives presented. The researchers also looked at other possible alternatives from biomass.
The analysis was carried out following an EU REACH restriction proposal for BPA. The proposal comprises a ban on the use of BPA in thermal paper, including cash register receipts. According to France, the member state submitting the restriction proposal, measures are needed to manage the potential risks to the health of workers and consumers.
RIVM has submitted the Wageningen UR report as important additional information in the recent public consultation on the BPA restriction proposal.