Press release: 11 July 2019

EU court confirms plastics chemical BPA as substance of ‘very high concern’

The General Court of the EU has confirmed that bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical used to make plastics – must be listed as a substance of ‘very high concern’ on account of its properties that are toxic for human reproduction.

The Court upheld a previous decision by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to identify the substance, which has been used in the manufacture of plastic products such as water bottles, food containers and receipts. BPA is already banned in the EU for some products – such as baby bottles – due to concerns about its effects on the hormonal and reproductive system.

ClientEarth intervened before the Court to support ECHA’s decision to officially identify Bisphenol A as a substance toxic for reproduction, and therefore of high concern

Apolline Roger, Legal and Policy Advisor at ClientEarth said: “This case was not about whether bisphenol A is toxic for reproduction or not – there is no doubt about the dangers this substance poses for humans and the environment.

“This case was about industry lobby group PlasticsEurope attempting to fight the obligation of its members that sell or use BPA to tell their supply chain and consumers about its dangers.

“We are glad that the Court reminded them that information is a precondition to environmental and health protection, even for substances like BPA, that are used and supposed to be fully consumed in the production process.”

PlasticsEurope also challenged before the Court the identification of bisphenol A as an endocrine disruptor with impact on health in a second legal case, and with impact on the environment in a third case.

The judgement of the second case is expected mid-September. The hearing for the third is excepted to be around October. In all three cases, ClientEarth acted as intervener – supporting the defendant in its defence against PlasticsEurope’s challenge before the EU Courts.


About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.