BPA Added to List of Dangerous Chemicals in California

California is listing a common chemical used in can liners and plastic bottles as potentially dangerous to human health, meaning companies would have to alert consumers when it is used in food or food packaging. 

Earlier this month, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CAL-EPA) announced that it is adding bisphenol A (BPA) to the list of chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity as part of Proposition 65, a state law that aims to protect California citizens from chemicals in drinking water known to cause cancer or reproductive problems.

When a chemical is added to the Proposition 65 list, manufacturers are required to warn consumers in California of its presence in food and water when it is at dangerous levels. However, a number of chemical companies are in the process of suing the state in an effort to allow them to legally withhold information about the presence of BPA.

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State officials say the chemical was added to the list following a report by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) that determined that BPA causes reproductive toxicity at high doses. However, in 2009, CAL-EPA used the same report to determine that BPA was not eligible for the Proposition 65 list.

Environmental groups have come out in strong support of placing BPA on the Proposition 65 list. However, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) is pushing ahead with a lawsuit filed last month that seeks to force BPA off the Proposition 65 list. ACC claims that state administrative officials overrode the findings of its own scientists in placing the chemical on the list.

BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a chemical commonly found in household objects. It is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics and is a component in many items, beverage containers, toys and impact-resistant safety equipment to name a few. It is also used to line the inside of aluminum cans for food storage.

Originally developed as a form of synthetic estrogen, BPA is used in the manufacture of many consumer products, such as bottles, cans, cups and other food containers.

Exposure to BPA is suspected of causing hormonal changes by impacting the human endocrine system. It has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma. Some research has suggested that BPA can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.

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