BpA Added to California Proposition 65 List

Bisphenol A is primarily used to make plastics, such as this polycarbonate water bottle. Image: Wikipedia Creative Commons

Bisphenol A is primarily used to make plastics, such as this polycarbonate water bottle. Image: Wikipedia Creative Commons

Bisphenol A officially relisted as potentially hazardous chemical; requires warning label to comply with California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.

Alexandria, VA (May, 2015) – On May 11, 2015, the State of California relisted Bisphenol A (BpA) on its Proposition 65 (Prop 65) list of substances known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive toxicity. The state took this new action notwithstanding the continued existence of a lawsuit brought by the American Chemistry Council and others to enjoin the state’s first attempt to list BpA.

The chemical is of note to members of the optical industry because it is used as a starting material in the manufacture of polycarbonate.

The Prop 65 warning requirement for BpA takes effect one year after the chemical is added to the list.  Thus, companies will now have until May 11, 2016 to determine if their products sold in California contain BpA, or if their California work places will expose employees to BpA.

The Vision Council is in the process of reviewing the new listing, especially to determine whether or not the state is providing a safe harbor level for BpA.  Chemical exposures above the safe harbor level trigger a Prop 65 warning, and when the state first added BpA to its list – which action led to the law suit discussed above – a safe harbor level was provided, and this level was above the level in which most people would encounter in a product.  The Vision Council believes that a similar safe harbor level would benefit its members and other members of the optical industry.

Proposition 65 has been a California state law since 1986. Passed as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, Prop 65, as it is commonly known, regulates the presence of certain chemical substances found in products sold in California, or present in the workplace in California. The goals of Prop 65 are to protect California’s drinking water sources from contamination by these chemicals and to allow California consumers, residents and workers the information necessary to make informed choices so they can take precautions about the products they purchase or exposures they might receive to potentially hazardous chemicals.

If a business sells in California a product containing a substance or substances that are on the Prop 65 list in excess of the de minimis level for that substance, then a “clear and reasonable” warning must be provided to the public. The same is true for environmental or workplace exposures to Prop 65 substances in California.

Visit The Vision Council’s website to learn more about California Prop 65, and contact Rick Van Arnam, The Vision Council Regulatory Council, or Jason McElvaney, The Vision Council Government and Regulatory Affairs Liaison, with any questions.  Updates will be distributed to members of The Vision Council as more information becomes available.

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

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