Canada has now officially declared BPA (bisphenol A) to be toxic. But what does that mean? Is it going to be banned? The short answer is, probably not.
As I have discussed previously, when the Canadian government declares something to be toxic, it has a fairly specific legal definition. It means that either it may be having adverse effects on the environment or biological diversity, it may pose a danger to the environment on which life depends, or it may constitute a danger to human health.
In the case of BPA, it was declared toxic for 2 reasons. The primary reason was actually related to the environment, and specifically BPA in sewage effluent affecting aquatic organisms. The second reason was that, even though Health Canada concluded that exposures were below levels known to cause harm, the margin of safety was too small for formula-fed infants.
The declaration as toxic basically means that the government has to introduce a risk management plan. Part of this risk management plan is the ban on BPA in baby bottles, which covers off the human health issue. The other part is a proposed regulation to limit industrial effluents.
There is no requirement on the part of the government of Canada to ban any other uses of BPA, so don’t expect to see legislated bans in other products. Any reduction of BPA use other than in baby bottles would likely have to be consumer or supplier-driven, and would probably require the development of a (hopefully less toxic), economically practical alternative.