Thermal paper, commonly used in the retail sector for receipt paper and weighing scale labels, has traditionally used Bisphenol A (BPA) as a color developer. However, new European Union legislation requires all thermal paper sold in Europe to be free of BPA after 2 January 2020.
What is BPA?
Bisphenol A is an organic synthetic compound widely used around the world in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, and as a color developer in thermal papers. It is also used in consumer products as varied as sports equipment and CDs, but recent concerns about safety have led to restrictions on its use. The latest is European Union regulation 2016/2235, which amends the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Annex XVII restricted substances list. In practice, this legislative change means that thermal paper with concentrations of BPA above 0.02% in weight will be banned in Europe after January 2, 2020.
Color developer is usually about 1–1.5% of paper weight, so a maximum BPA level of 0.02% means that it can no longer be intentionally added during production. However, trace amounts of BPA (below 0.02%) that originate as residue transfer from the different stages of self-adhesive label production are acceptable.
Keeping you a step ahead
UPM Raflatac had anticipated the change in regulations with a full range of uncoated and top-coated BPA-free thermal papers that fulfill most typical end-use requirements already available. We also offer bisphenol-free and phenol-free products for more specific end-user demands. These products are already available for all our most popular adhesives and an increasing number of label products.