Mike Rogge

BPA dilemma for many industries

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, Aug. 21, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In May of this year, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it was adding bisphenol A (BPA) to its list of products requiring labeling under Proposition 65. It was being included based on the authoritative body mechanism after its Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee’s (DARTIC) adoption of BPA as a female reproductive toxin.

BPA is an industrial chemical used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics have many applications, including use in some food and drink packaging, water bottles, compact discs, toys, impact-resistant safety equipment, dental sealants and composites and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such a food cans, bottle tops and water supply pipes.

OEHHA’s latest move is counter to most recent scientific studies. The U.S. Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has stated,

Based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging. People are exposed to low levels of BPA because, like many packaging components, very small amounts of BPA may migrate from the food packaging into foods or beverages.

In December of 2014, the U.S. FDA reaffirmed its safety assessment.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on January 21, 2015 declared, “EFSA’s comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A exposure and toxicity concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents at current exposure levels)”.

Furthermore, Health Canada states: “The findings of the previous assessment remain unchanged and Health Canada’s Food Directorate continues to conclude that current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.” In June of 2014, Health Canada reaffirmed its safety assessment following release of the a study done by the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) of pregnant women that found BPA exposures thousands of times lower than previously thought.

The May 7th DARTIC committee meeting where BPA was listed was rather chaotic. DARTIC did not divulge which study they were relying upon for the listing. OEHHA must now establish a maximum allowable dosage level (MADL). There is a very specific formula for establishing a MADL based upon what is deemed the most reliable study. OEHHA has said that they don’t expect to establish even a draft MADL until May of next year at the earliest. This means that companies who use BPA in their products or in their packaging and do not label their products with a Prop 65 warning should be prepared to defend in court the safety of BPA in their product by next May. Unfortunately, by that time, the packaging and/or products on the market may have been produced previously.

California agriculture is concerned because they package much of their product in cans or bottles using BPA as a sealant for food safety purposes. At this time, no other material has been found acceptable for most of these applications and processes. It is also anticipated that a Prop 65 label on food products is tantamount to labeling the product “Unsafe – Do Not Buy Me!” Many of the same fears have been echoed by other industries using BPA in their products.

If you are concerned about your use of BPA, please contact Mike Rogge at CMTA (mrogge@cmta.net).

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