BPA Listing in California Remains in Flux

April 22, 2013 | A recent decision made by the State of California to list bisphenol-A (BPA) under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) hit a roadblock on April 19th, when a judge in Sacramento County Superior Court ordered BPA’s removal from the state’s list of reproductive toxicants.

If BPA is ultimately added to the Proposition 65 list, it would mean that one year from the date of the listing consumer products sold in the state that create a BPA exposure above the yet-to-be-finalized “safe harbor” level would need to include a warning label on product packaging.

The American Chemistry Council filed a lawsuit seeking the removal of BPA from the Proposition 65 list altogether; the April 19th preliminary injunction is a result of that lawsuit. Conversely, some scientists have appealed to the state to set a ceiling for acceptable exposure levels below the proposed “safe harbor” level of 290 micrograms per day suggested by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).

“Even if BPA is ultimately included on the Prop 65 list, at the safe harbor level proposed by OEHHA it is unlikely that toys will require a warning label,” stated Alan Kaufman, SVP of technical affairs at the Toy Industry Association (TIA). “Currently, no labeling of toy products containing BPA is required in the United States.”

Bisphenol-A is an unavoidable contaminant in polycarbonate plastics, used because they are shatter and heat resistant. High levels of regulatory and legislative activity on BPA are expected over the next five years; proposals for restrictions in toys and other children’s products have already been seen this year in Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Puerto Rico. To date, some states have also restricted BPA’s use in food storage items, such as baby bottles and sippy cups. At the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn approval of BPA’s use in baby bottles and sippy cups, but has found no evidence of BPA harm in relation to human exposure.

TIA will continue to monitor developments on this topic and will keep members informed of changing requirements at the state, federal, and international levels.

Questions from members may be directed to Alan Kaufman, TIA SVP of technical affairs (646.520.4868).