BPA free labels: what is Bisphenol A and are you compliant?

Posted: 21st April 2020

BPA free labels became a legal requirement in January 2020, as under EU regulations Bisphenol A was banned from thermal papers and plastic food packaging.

In 2017 the EU member countries unanimously decided to classify BPA as a substance of very high concern due to the potential health impact and “probable serious effects to human health”.

Prior to that, it had been one of the most popular chemicals in the world, with an estimated 3.63 billion kilos manufactured in 2016.

What is Bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A commonly known as BPA, is an organic synthetic compound. The chemical has been used to create tough clear plastic, form a barrier layer in food packaging and also in thermal papers and labels. One key feature of BPA is that it turns black when exposed to heat, making it a key component in direct thermal labels.

What are the effects of BPA on health?

How safe BPA is largely depends on how and how frequently people come into contact with it. This is referred to as the Daily Tolerable Intake. The detremental impact on health is not fully understood with some groups saying it has no impact and some claiming BPA affects hormones that can lead to cancer and other diseases such as heart diseases. Ultimately, the claims have lead to the EU banning BPA in thermal papers and labels used for direct thermal printing.

Am I BPA free compliant?

Paperwork UK has been phasing out materials containing BPA for over a year before the ban was introduced in 2020. Supported by leading material suppliers, we have actively been trying to manufacture BPA free labels for several years. This has resulted in no raw material or converted stock in our warehouse containing Bisphenol A. However, if you have direct thermal label or ticket stock stored in your own warehouse that was delivered before August 2019, it is worth checking. For stock ordered from Paperwork, we can tell you given an production reference and for stock ordered from other suppliers, we can accept samples for analysis.

Total phenol free labels

Thermal reactant papers still require developers and Bisphenol A has been replaced by Bisphenol S, a chemical that also faces critics. Paperwork UK offers a total phenol free range of thermal materials. These still possess clear thermal imaging characteristics but satisfy eco-concious demands.