The State of California added bisphenol A (BPA) to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity under its Prop 65 law despite ongoing litigation challenging the validity of such findings.
The ruling, which became effective May 11, was made by the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) following a May 7 public meeting by its Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC). “The DARTIC determined that BPA was clearly shown through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause reproductive toxicity, based on the female reproductive endpoint,” according to an announcement by OEHHA.
The ruling comes even as the American Chemistry Council and others are suing the state to enjoin an earlier attempt to list BpA under Prop 65.
The Vision Council, which represents such companies as Oakley Inc., Smith Optics, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and their parent companies, said Monday it is reviewing the decision to determine whether the state is providing a safe harbor level for BpA as it did in its initial listing. Chemical exposures above the safe harbor level trigger a Prop 65 warning, but the state's original listing for BpA set that level above the level most people would encounter in a product. The Vision Council believes that a similar safe harbor level would benefit its members and other members of the optical industry.
The Prop 65 warning requirement for BpA takes effect one year after the chemical is added to the list. Thus, companies will now have until May 11, 2016 to determine if their products sold in California contain BpA, or if their California work places will expose employees to BpA, according to the Vision Council.
Concerns over the health effects of BpA prompted many outdoor retailers to pull polycarbonate beverage containers from their shelves in 2007 and 2008. Bottle vendors have since shifted to BpA-free alternatives, but the chemical is still widely used as a starting material in the manufacture of polycarbonate lenses and frames.
Proposition 65 has been a California state law since 1986. Passed as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, Prop 65, as it is commonly known, regulates the presence of certain chemical substances found in products sold in California, or present in the workplace in California. The goals of Prop 65 are to protect California's drinking water sources from contamination by these chemicals and to allow California consumers, residents and workers the information necessary to make informed choices so they can take precautions about the products they purchase or exposures they might receive to potentially hazardous chemicals.
If a business sells in California a product containing a substance or substances that are on the Prop 65 list in excess of the de minimis level for that substance, then a “clear and reasonable” warning must be provided to the public. The same is true for environmental or workplace exposures to Prop 65 substances in California.