California may name and shame BPA as toxin

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Public health, Health

The controversial chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) could be listed as a toxin by the Californian Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Under state law, so-called Proposition 65 requires the governor to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

Colleen Flannery, spokeswoman, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) told FoodProductionDaily.com that OEHHA is seeking opinions about whether or not to add Bisphenol-A to the Proposition 65 list.

Reproductive toxicity

The OEHHA is considering the listing following a request from the Natural Resources Defense Council. In a letter to the OEHHA, the organization’s senior scientist Gina Solomon said: “We write on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council – an environmental and public health organization which as 1.2m members…250,000 of whom are Californians – to ask OEHHA to move forward immediately to list bisphenol A under Proposition 65 as a chemical that is known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity​.”

Its petition was based on a 2008 National Toxicology Program report which concluded that there is widespread exposure to BPA and that this may affect human development or reproduction.

If BPA is listed under Proposition 65, a warning must be provided for products which contain the chemical and its discharge into sources of drinking water will be prohibited. “Enforcement of Proposition 65 is through civil actions that may be brought by the Attorney General’s Office, district attorneys, city attorneys or private parties​,” said Flannery.

After the consultation period ends on April 13, OEHHA will review the comments and decide whether the listing criteria have been met. If met, the office will issue a Notice of Intent to List and provide another opportunity for consultation before issuing a public notice when the final decision is made.

Dirty tricks

Last September, a bid to ban BPA in California failed prompting supporters to accuse the chemical industry of using dirty tricks to defeat the measure. But industry representatives denied any wrong-doing and insisted that scientific evidence supported the safely of the chemical

BPA is used widely in polycarbonate plastic baby bottles, sipper cups and the linings of some food cans. Health concerns focus on studies that show it can leach from packaging into foodstuffs.

Meanwhile, last December French food safety authority AFSSA confirmed that it is considering the safety of BPA. Its current position is that the chemical poses no threat to human health.

Related topics: Regulation

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