• August 13, 2015
  • KEMI

The Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes to regulate the relase of BPA in water pipes

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The Swedish Government assigned the Swedish Chemicals Agency, the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning and the National Food Agency to carry out a survey of emission of Bisphenol A (BPA) from restored drinking water pipes. Pipes can be restored by casting a new pipe inside an old one. This method is called relining. In Sweden, epoxy – a material that may contain and emit BPA – was used for relining of tap water pipes until 2011.

The tap water pipes in approximately 3000 apartments in Sweden have been relined with epoxy. BPA was detected in analyses of water from a few of these apartments. Analyses have detected higher concentrations of BPA in hot water. Although advised against by the National Food Agency, parents may prepare infant formula from warm water, taken directly from the tap.

BPA has endocrine disrupting properties, and is suspected to induce harmful effects in fetuses and small children even at a very low exposure. However, no risk to human health has been indicated for the concentrations of BPA detected in drinking water. The safety level for negative effects is too small for an infant fed on formula prepared from hot water taken directly from the tap on a daily basis, according to the Swedish Chemicals Agency. Despite this conclusion is also supported by the current EFSA assessmentEFSA is currently performing a revision of the risk assessment of BPA. The Swedish National Food Agency would like to wait for the outcome of this assessment before reaching a final conclusion regarding risks to human health. 

As part of the effort to reduce the overall exposure of unwanted and unnecessary chemicals, Sweden believes that technologies which may lead to water being contaminated by BPA should be avoided in the future. In order to prevent emissions of BPA from new restorations of water pipes, the Swedish Chemicals Agency, the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning and the National Food Agency propose that a ban on the use of two-component epoxy for the rehabilitation of tap water pipes is introduced in the Chemical Products (Handling, Import and Export Prohibitions) Ordinance (1998:944)


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