OEHHA looks at expanding Prop 65 list

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 21, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s (Cal/EPA) Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has submitted 11 chemicals to its two science advisory panels asking their advice on whether they should be classified as carcinogens and reproductive toxicants under Proposition 65.  

Interestingly, among the "chemicals" are caffeine, marijuana smoke and Bisphenol-A.  Including marijuana smoke and caffeine seems to carry on the theme of protecting the public from their own vices.  The agency has already listed tobacco, tobacco smoke and alcoholic beverages and is still in the throes of trying to decide whether french fries and other fried food (acrylamides) should require a Prop 65 warning.

The 11 chemicals now under consideration are:
  • marijuana smoke
  • trinitrotoluene (TNT)
  • n,n-dimethylformamide
  • bromodichloromethane
  • chlorpyrifos
  • hexavalent chromium
  • sulfur dioxide
  • methylisocycanate
  • DDE
  • bisphenol-A
  • caffeine 
If approved, warnings would not be required for caffeine where it is a natural constituent in a food product, such as tea, coffee or chocolate, but would be necessary where it is an added constituent in pharmaceuticals, formulated beverages, etc.  

N,n-dimethylformamide is of concern due to occupational exposures through inhalation and dermal contact.  It is used in acrylic fiber production, industrial paint stripping, pharmaceutical processing, various solvent applications, and leather and artificial leather production.

The concern with TNT is exposure to water or soil which has been contaminated by discarded munitions, in the actual production of munitions, and in blasting operations.  Bromodichloromethane is a by-product in the chlorination of water.  Chlorpyrifos is a widely used insecticide and DDE is the predominant breakdown of the banned pesticide DDT.  Methylisocyanate is used in the production of pesticide and in the manufacturing of polyurethane foam and plastics.  It is probably best known from the 1984 release of the chemical in Bhopal, India.

Sulfur dioxide is used or produced in numerous ways: the production of sulfuric acid, in preservatives, as a bleach, in food processing, as a petroleum catalyst and in extraction and as a reducing agent.  

Bisphenol-A is used in the manufacturing of resins and polycarbonate plastics.  It is found in such products as: baby bottles, water bottles, lunch pails, children’s toys, eyeglass lenses, epoxy resins like dental composites, paints, adhesives, and protective coatings in food and beverage containers.  

Comments on the scientific evidence supporting or opposing the inclusion of these "chemicals" will be accepted through November 6.  Both of the committees reviewing chemicals will be meeting concurrently at Cal/EPA headquarters in Sacramento on December 10, beginning at 10 a.m.  Scientific summaries for each chemical are available on the agency’s website at: www.oehha.ca.gov

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