In an article published on March 18, 2016 by news provider Chemical Watch, editor Kelly Franklin reports on a proposed warning label for bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) in consumer products considered by the State of California, U.S.. In May 2015, California added BPA to the list of chemicals known to cause reproductive harm under Proposition 65 (Prop 65) (FPF reported). According to Prop 65, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products containing BPA must provide consumers with a “clear and reasonable warning” regarding the chemical’s hazards by May 11, 2016.
In order to ensure compliance with the Prop 65 deadline, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) decided to take emergency action and proposed a temporary uniform “point-of-sale” warning label for canned and bottled foods and beverages reading: “WARNING: Many cans containing foods and beverages sold here have epoxy linings used to avoid microbial contamination and extend shelf life. Lids on jars and caps on bottles may also have epoxy linings. Some of these linings can leach small amounts of bisphenol A (BPA) into the food or beverage. BPA is a chemical known to the State of California to cause harm to the female reproductive system. For more information go to: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/BPA.”
OEHHA noted that many canned food and beverage manufacturers have started to move away from using BPA (FPF reported) and stated that “a reasonable transition period is needed to avoid consumer confusion and at the same time provide the required warning for significant exposures to BPA.” According to an article by 89.3KPCC radio station, the general warning label is intended to be placed at cash registers of supermarkets. Many consumer and health groups are frustrated with OEHHA’s decision arguing that “by the time you have [cans] in your cart and you see the sign, it’s too quick and too vague for [consumers] to make an informed decision.” Further, “state regulators continue to put the interest of industries over the interest of public health,” stated Martha Dina Arguello form the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
On April 1, 2016 the OEHHA launched the Prop65 warning website providing consumers and businesses with information on the hazards of the chemicals listed under Prop 65. In response, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) stated that the website “contains inaccurate information” and that “some claims are not supported by the available science.” Further, the ACC stressed that “OEHHA has a responsibility to avoid confusing and needlessly alarming consumers with inaccurate information presented as ‘fact.’”
Kelly Franklin (March 18, 2016). “California agency takes emergency action on BPA under Prop 65.” Chemical Watch
OEHHA (April 1, 2016). “Notice of emergency action to amend section 25603.3 title 27, California code of regulations warnings for exposures to bisphenol A from canned and bottled foods and beverages.”
Elizabeth Aguilera (April5, 2016). “Why you won’t see BPA warnings on cans — but you’ll find them at cash registers.” 89.3KPCC
ACC (April 1, 2016). “April fool’s from OEHHA: Prop65 warning website.”
Gayle S. Putrich (April 1, 2016). “BPA in cans comes under fire.” Plastics News
Sarah A. Slack & Louis J. Thorson (March 16, 2016). “Deadline approaching for Prop 65 compliance for bisphenol A.” The National Law Review