BPA, the never-ending saga

BPA, the never-ending saga

Prior posts have reviewed various studies that indicate that BPA has estrogenic effects.

In January 2013 the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed listing BPA under California's Proposition 65 because OEHHA's evaluation of the data indicated an adverse impact on fetal development. [Proposition 65 involves "chemicals" (the formal regulatory name given to any listed substance) that are assessed by OEHHA to be carcinogenic, interfere with reproduction in either men or women, or adversely impact fetal development.] See http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/CRNR_notices/admin_listing/intent_to_list/pdf_zip/NOIL_ABPkg42BPA.pdf. The listing triggers a 45-day comment period, which was scheduled to close March 11.

The two areas of usage cited by OEHHA were polycarbonate plastics (water bottles) and epoxy resin (liners for cans [e.g., food, soup]). Notice that missing is thermal paper, particularly cash register receipts. As noted in a prior post, this is likely the major exposure pathway for the general populace.

The proposed listing is controversial. Numerous parties, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California League of Food Processors, and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, sought an extension of the comment period. It is now scheduled to run to March 27.

But, there's more (of course). On March 1, 2013, the American Chemistry Council filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court (Docket T615) challenging the proposed listing. This is an interesting tactic because usually lawsuits are not filed until the first day that the listing becomes effective. Parties use the administrative process to build a record challenging the listing, and then use that record in an injunctive/mandamus/prohibition action to strike the listing.

The lawsuit notes that OEHHA relied on the "authoritative body" mechanism for the listing (one of the three mechanisms OEHHA can use to list a chemical, as noted in prior posts), and pointed to the National Toxicology Program's report on BPA. The lawsuit states that NTP report does not "formally identify" BPA as a reproductive toxicant, as required by Section 25249.8(b) California Health & Safety Code. The lawsuit also notes that the OEHHA panel of experts on reproductive toxicity unanimously recommended that BPA not be listed based on their review of the NTP and other studies.

As they say, stay tuned.