Cal-EPA signals 'intent to list' plastics chemical under Prop. 65
The California Environmental Protection Agency signaled intent to add bisphenol A (BPA) to the state's list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects, adding to evidence the chemical should be banned from food and beverage containers.
Cal-EPA said BPA "appears to meet the criteria for listing as known to the State to cause reproductive toxicity" under the state's landmark toxics law, Proposition 65. Once BPA is listed, manufacturers and retailers may have to disclose the presence of BPA in products sold in California.
BPA is a synthetic estrogen used in hard plastic food and beverage containers, including some water and baby bottles and sippy cups, and the lining of food cans. BPA leaches into food and beverages and moves quickly into the body. More than 200 scientific studies show that low-dose exposure to BPA is associated with a wide range of adverse health effects including breast cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, diabetes and obesity.
"Cal-EPA is joining the National Toxicology Program and many independent scientists concerned about BPA's toxicity," said Gretchen Lee Salter of the Breast Cancer Fund. "The science is clear: BPA is a powerful chemical that can harm the developing fetus, increasing risk for breast cancer. A Prop. 65 listing will be one more nail in the coffin of this highly toxic chemical."
According to Prop. 65, a chemical must be listed if formally identified as a carcinogen or reproductive toxicant by an authoritative scientific body. State scientists relied on the National Toxicology Program's 2008 report which confirmed "some concern" infants are at risk from exposure to BPA.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration said it is also concerned about BPA and provided guidelines for parents on how to limit children's exposure. Congress is considering legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., that would ban BPA from baby bottles, sports water bottles, reusable food containers, and infant formula and food can liners.
California lawmakers are considering legislation to ban BPA from food and drink containers for children age 3 and younger. Connecticut, Minnesota and four localities have banned BPA-containing baby bottles, and most major baby and water bottle manufacturers and retailers have moved toward BPA-free products.