California Poised to Add Widely-Used Plastic Chemical to Toxics List after 3-Year Delay

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The state is just about to put a chemical commonly used in plastic on its Prop. 65 list of harmful chemicals after a three-year wait, but it probably won’t be popping up on product warning labels anytime soon.

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and almost made the state list in 2009. Many observers thought that a critical report in 2008 from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) would gain BPA automatic entrance to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

It didn’t happen.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned BPA from baby bottles last year, after public complaints had already compelled the industry to abandon it in those products. Maine took additional measures to keep it away from kids a couple weeks ago.

Last week, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment cited the NTP report in announcing a 30-day comment period before adding it to the list.

Manufacturers say bisphenol A, which has been around for 50 years, is safe at the levels of exposure people experience. BPA is one of the highest-volume chemicals produced in the world and is used in a multitude of products, including canned food liners and drink containers. Around six pounds of the hormone-disrupting chemical are produced annually for each American.

While those concerned about BPA were happy to hear it would make the Prop. 65 list, its value will be limited. The state is proposing a fairly high level of acceptable exposure that “is not likely to trigger any warning labels on canned food or beverages,” according to Sarah Janssen at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

So consumers can consider themselves warned when, and if, the chemical officially makes the list.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

California Intends to Declare BPA a Reproductive Hazard (by Marla Cone, Environmental Health News)

State EPA Plans to List BPA as Harmful (by Stephanie M. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle)

ACC Slams California Plan to List BPA as Developmental Toxicant (by Joe Whitworth,

Notice of Intent to List: Bisphenol A (California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment)

Bisphenol A to Be Listed on California's Prop 65 List! (by Sarah Janssen, Natural Resources Defense Council staff blog)

Can of Del Monte Green Beans Sets Toxic BPA Record (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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