Bisphenonal A, or BPA, a potentially toxic chemical used in plastics and the linings of canned food and already banned from use in children’s drinking cups and baby bottles, may soon be declared a reproductive hazard in the state of California. The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said it would list the compound as a Proposition 65 chemical under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
Proposition 65 was enacted on November 4, 1986 as a voters’ initiative. OEHHA is the lead state entity responsible for its implementation. The act requires businesses to provide a warning when they cause exposure to a chemical listed as known to cause either cancer or reproductive toxicity.
Scientists have long stated that BPA’s estrogen-like components can alter reproductive hormones. According to OEHHA, the agency plans to list BPA as known to California to cause reproductive toxicity under Proposition 65 based on the findings of the National Toxicology Program (NTP).
A report by the NTP states, “Although there is no direct evidence that exposure of people to bisphenol A adversely affects reproduction or development, studies with laboratory rodents show that exposure to high-dose levels of bisphenol A during pregnancy and/or lactation can reduce survival birth weight.”
NTP identified eight studies as the basis for the conclusion that there is clear evidence of adverse developmental effects at high doses of BPA in the form of fetal death, a decrease in litter size or a smaller number of live pups per litter in rats and mice, reduced growth in rodents, and delayed puberty in male mice and rates and female rats.
OEHHA is working on setting an acceptable level of exposure to BPA.