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California agency puts bisphenol A on Prop 65 list

By: Gayle S. Putrich

April 12, 2013

WASHINGTON -- California's environmental agency has added bisphenol A, the controversial polycarbonate component, to its official list of toxic chemicals.

The decision was quietly announced late April 11 by the the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, a division of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Litigation to keep BPA from being considered for the so-called Prop 65 list, filed by the American Chemistry Council in March, is still pending.

Though the listing decision was made, surprisingly speedily, the panel did not set a ceiling for allowable daily exposure. That maximum allowable dose level, or MADL, is what determines if a product that potentially exposes consumers to more than that amount must be labeled as potentially harmful.

Labeling requirements do not go into effect until one year after listing and the state plans to have the MADL set well before then, said Sam Delson, deputy director for external and legislative affairs for the OEHHA.

As part of the public comment period before the panel made its decision, 22 scientists appealed to the state on April 10 to set a lower MADL for BPA exposure than the currently suggested 290 micrograms per day. The scientists recommend a MADL of no higher than 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day, said Dr. Csaba Leranth of Yale University's neurobiology and obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences departments.

"We believe that setting a MADL that is consistent with current science and is health-protective is urgent and of utmost importance," says the letter, which also lists 10 examples from recent animal studies showing harmful effects at one-twelfth the doss of the proposed California level, or even lower.