Canadian Plastics

Most BPA in Canada destroyed or in landfills: study

Most of the Bisphenol A (BPA) contained in products Canadians use every day is either destroyed or winds up in landfills, according to a new study for Environment Canada.

August 24, 2012   Canadian Plastics

Most of the Bisphenol A (BPA) contained in products Canadians use every day is either destroyed or winds up in landfills, according to a new study for Environment Canada.

The finding helps to allay concerns that BPA, a key monomer in epoxy resins, persists for long periods in the environment.

“A large portion of the BPA that is estimated consumed in Canada is actually reacted/destroyed during its service life,” said the $44,000 research report by Cheminfo Services Inc.

The study suggests between 44% and 68% of the BPA consumed in Canada in 2010 was destroyed in the use of products, such as the epoxy coatings often used to line the inside of food cans. Another 24% to 43% went into landfills, while less than 14% was released, recycled, incinerated or found its way into sludge.

The Harper government has been a global leader in efforts to limit exposure to BPA, banning the chemical from polycarbonate baby bottles in 2008 after studies demonstrated some leaching into the fluid. The US Food and Drug Administration issued its own baby-bottle BPA ban in July.

And in late 2010, the substance was added to an official list of toxic substances in Canada.

Environment Canada since April this year has also required key industries to develop mitigation plans to reduce the amount of BPA they release into the environment.

The Cheminfo study cautions that more study is needed to verify the initial research, which focused on a range of products in the Canadian marketplace, including brake fluids, tires and cleaning products.

BPA mimics the hormone estrogen, and has been linked to higher risks for breast cancer, heart disease and even obesity, though there is no broad scientific consensus about its precise toxicity or what levels are unsafe.

Some Canadian retailers, such as Mountain Equipment Co-op and Lululemon, have voluntarily removed BPA-containing water bottles from their shelves. Some firms have also adopted BPA-free manufacturing processes to respond to consumer concerns.


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