California to Add BPA to Prop. 65 List of Toxic Substances
Today the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) posted a notice of intent to list bisphenol A (BPA) on the Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to be toxic. OEHHA, part of California's Environmental Protection Agency, said that its findings are sufficient to conclude that BPA causes reproductive toxicity.
This morning's notice follows a two-year request for information from OEHHA on the chemical, which is often used in polycarbonate plastics and as a liner in aluminum cans. If the chemical is added to Prop. 65, it will join the list of more than 800 chemicals that the state considers toxic. OEHHA is suggesting a maximum allowable dosage of 290 micrograms per day of exposure to BPA. Any product that could expose users to a larger dosage will need to providing a warning to consumers.
Prop. 65, also known as Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, is a California law that requires businesses to report to consumers when a products they manufacture includes a greater-than-recommended portion of chemicals found to be toxic. A company must provide a "clear and reasonable" warning to consumers if a product contains the chemical beyond the recommended volume, even if access or risk of exposure is impossible. For promotional products, that warning is generally required as a label on the packaging of an item or on the product itself.
Although the act is only enforced in California, its impact is nationwide. Because Prop. 65 regulates any organization doing business in the state, any product that is made available for sale in California faces the same regulations; a supplier from Seattle selling a product to a distributor in San Francisco needs to provide the warning on any affected products. As a result, many suppliers already ensure Prop. 65 compliance on their products or require special notice if an order is intended for use in California.
The promotional products industry has self-regulated the use of BPA for years. Found in plastics, the chemical often occurred in polycarbonate bottles in the past. Many drinkware suppliers have voluntarily switched to selling only BPA-free sports bottles and products, with widespread adoption among both distributors and end-buyers.
OEHHA is asking for comments on whether BPA meets its criteria for regulation under Prop. 65. Interested parties may send an email to P65Public.Comments@oehha.ca.gov with "NOIL-Bisphenol A" in the subject line. The deadline for comments is Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. More information is available on OEHHA's website.