California panel votes unanimously to add BPA to the Proposition 65 list as a reproductive toxicant.
- Proposition 65 is a “right to know” California statute that requires companies to provide warning statements where their products cause an “exposure” to carcinogens and/or reproductive toxicants. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) maintains an up-to-date list of the chemicals (>800) that trigger warnings. Bisphenol A (BPA) has been the subject of global controversy in recent years, with multiple jurisdictions prohibiting its use in children’s products and baby bottles due to concerns about potential exposure risks. Attempts to add BPA to the Prop 65 list date back to 2009, even though FDA’s position is that exposure to BPA is safe for humans. BPA was added to the Prop 65 list in 2013, but was subsequently withdrawn in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
- On May 7, 2015, an OEHHA panel voted unanimously to add BPA to the Prop 65 list as a reproductive toxicant, contradicting a wealth of evidence supplied by various scientific authorities who support the safety of BPA at current levels of exposure.
- The BPA listing decision already is subject to substantial industry criticism, particularly because the voting panel considered the potentially hazardous nature of the chemical without regard to actual human exposure levels. Between the limitations of Prop 65 (which is a warning requirement, not a safety evaluation) and the continued controversy surrounding BPA, this development serves as reminder to the food and food packaging industries that it can be hard to shake bad press once a chemical has been targeted.