March 15, 2013
WASHINGTON — The American Chemistry Council has filed suit to prevent California from including bisphenol A (BPA) on its list of reproductive toxicants.
The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, says that putting BPA on the list of harmful chemicals is circumventing the state's scientific process by allowing administrative staff to override the decision of a scientific panel from 2009.
"What we want are science-based decisions in the marketplace," said ACC spokesperson Kathryn St. John. ACC is concerned that listing BPA, a key component of polycarbonate and certain epoxy resins, will have "enormous ramifications," with manufacturers deselecting and consumers avoiding a large number of plastic products without a full understanding of just how much — or how little — BPA they are being exposed to.
California's Proposition 65, approved by voters there in 1986, requires businesses to notify citizens when significant amount of chemicals are present in products, workplaces, public spaces or released into the environment. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), part of the state's Environmental Protection Agency, administers the Proposition 65 program, including the list of potentially harmful chemicals.
In July 2009, OEHHA's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DART-IC) voted unanimously that BPA did not belong on the Prop 65 list, based largely on the findings from a 2008 report by the National Toxicology Program.
Now OEHHA is apparently using that same 2008 report in its second attempt to add BPA to the list of harmful chemicals.
OEHHA spokesman Sam Delson said he could not comment on the lawsuit specifically, but did say that Prop 65 allows for four different mechanisms for adding chemicals to the list, including findings by authoritative bodies and the opinions of the state's qualified experts.
OEHHA proposed listing BPA under Prop 65 in January. The usual 45-day public comment period on the potential listing has been extended until 5 p.m. on March 27 at the request of several California industry groups, Delson said.