California follows the science on BPA, while the chemical industry remains "misinformed and confused"
California announced earlier today that it will start the process to put bisphenol A (BPA) on the state list of chemicals known to cause reproductive harm (California's "Proposition 65" list) because of its effects on women's reproductive health. BPA is a toxic chemical found in plastic products, canned food and beverages, and paper receipts.
California's announcement is based on substantial new research, summarized in a recently published review. The review, conducted by nearly a dozen scientists, concluded that there was strong evidence that BPA can cause harm to the reproductive system and exposure to BPA may be involved in reproductive diseases. This new evidence will be evaluated by the state's designated scientific experts in May. This is an important next step in addressing the many studies finding a long list of adverse health effects associated with BPA.
While California's scientists and agencies work to follow the science, the chemical industry, represented by their main lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), is continuing its efforts to block public health protections. California had earlier moved to list BPA on the Proposition 65 list because the National Toxicology Program concluded in 2008 that BPA harmed the developing fetus. The ACC challenged California in court, and despite the fact that the court ruled against the ACC and concluded that ACC's understanding of the National Toxicology Program's analysis of BPA was "misinformed and confused," the ACC has moved for a new trial. This will lead to further costs and delay in the listing of BPA for harm to the developing fetus.
We applaud California's actions to initiate the process for recognizing BPA's adverse effects on female reproductive health. As we have said before, much more remains to be done. For instance, new science shows that the chemicals used as replacements for BPA may pose similar health risks and California must work harder to ensure the safety of "BPA-free" products. We hope that the state will maintain its leadership in protecting public health against BPA, its alternatives and other toxic chemicals that we are exposed to every day. It's important that we continue our progress on the right to know and better chemical safety assessments.