Confusion about what California's Proposition 65 could mean for plastic products containing styrene is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the state's labeling requirements.
Bisphenol A, the much-maligned chemical found in polycarbonate and the epoxy linings of metal cans has been riding the Prop 65 rollercoaster for years — on the list, off the list, back on, in court, labels and no labels.
After an emergency action in March that would have meant all canned goods sold in California had to come with a notification that they contained a chemical known to the state to cause cancer, California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's (OEHHA) issued yet another emergency regulation, superseding the first.
Under the late April change, individual cans made with BPA will not have to carry the Prop 65 carcinogen warning. Instead, OEHHA will allow a standardized point-of-sale warning message of possible BPA exposure from canned and bottled foods and beverages, such as a sign at a store's entrance. The signage will direct consumers to the agency's new Web site, https://www.p65warnings.ca.gov/.
The new, BPA-specific rule, which kicks in May 11, is something of a test drive for a new version of Prop 65 labeling: naming the specific chemical of concern and directing consumers to the Web site, where fact sheets will eventually be available for the 800 or so chemicals listed.
OEHHA officials expect to expect to have the new regulations approved by October.