BPA Back on California’s Prop 65 List of Reproductive Hazards

BPA Back on California's Prop 65 List of Reproductive Hazards

A California board of scientific experts, The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee, has recommended bisphenol A, better known as BPA, be added to the state’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals found to cause reproductive or developmental issues.

BPA is a controversial chemical. Found in canned goods, plastic bottles, thermal register receipts and scores of other items, the chemical is a known endocrine disruptor. It’s been banned or seriously restricted in a number of countries including European Union member states, China and Canada.

And despite federal agencies in the U.S. finding little cause to reclassify the chemical, a number of companies have begun removing BPA from products over growing consumer concern.

Products falling under the Prop 65 ruling must be labeled as such in the state of California, noting there are potentially harmful side effects associated with the products—namely, reproductive risks for women.

Steven Hentges, from the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council said the group strongly disagrees with the decision to list the chemical as a female reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65.

“The decision is not supported by the extensive scientific record presented to the committee and is completely contrary to explicit input provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” Hentges said in a statement.

“The decision of a scientific advisory committee to add bisphenol A, or BPA, to California’s Proposition 65 list of toxic chemicals is a huge victory in the fight to protect people from this harmful hormone disruptor,” Environmental Working Group said in a statement.

“This important victory will pave the way for greater protection for California residents who are currently exposed to BPA in everyday items such as canned food and receipts,” said Renée Sharp, EWG’s director of research. “The panel affirmed what hundreds of scientists and a massive amount of evidence has consistently shown – that BPA harms the female reproductive system.”

According to Sharp, the Prop 65 listing could trigger manufacturers to remove BPA from their products, as the state will be forced to set a guideline for warning labels on items that contain the chemical.

“The ongoing question is whether the chemicals used in place of BPA in products are any safer,” added Sharp. “It is one of many reasons that we need a stronger federal chemical safety law on the books.”

In 2013, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment said it would add BPA to the Prop 65 list of harmful chemicals—until legal filings from the American Chemistry Council prevented the state from moving forward with the legislation. But in late 2014, a California court upheld findings that BPA is a known endocrine disruptor and therefore warrants consideration for allocation to the Prop 65 list.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the California’s scientific advisory board noted “essentially all Americans have BPA in their bodies and are continuously being exposed to more of the chemical.” In 2009, the EWG documented the presence of BPA in umbilical cord blood.

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