The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has dismissed concerns raised by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) that the chemical known as bisphenol A or BPA is dangerous and should be listed as a developmental toxicant. The ACC called the demand from the Californian public health agency "scientifically unjustified."
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the chemical is found in plastic bottles and food containers among others and is believed to have a harmful effect on reproduction and has been linked to a number of illnesses. This is the reason why OEHHA wanted to list BPA as a developmental toxicant under Proposition 65 of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1998. OEHHA cited a report by the National Toxicology Program from 2008, which found developmental harm in lab animals exposed to high levels of BPA.
However, the ACC responded that OEHHA's statement did not provide sufficient scientific evidence and that most common products in which BPA is found contain levels that are below the dangerous limit. This means that even if bisphenol A was listed, warnings would only be required on products containing the maximum levels and this excluded the vast majority of common products.
According to Steven G. Hentges, Ph.D. Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the ACC, it cannot be scientifically proven that bisphenol A should be listed as a developmental toxicant and this action is in stark contrast with previous research carried out by scientific experts of the state of California. Authors of the study, dating back to July 2009, unanimously concluded that BPA does not satisfy the listing criteria under Proposition 65, he pointed out.
In turn, OEHHA said that its evidence was based on the report by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction from the same year, which proved that exposure to high levels of BPA was toxic. NTP deemed that "high" doses were those above five milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. However, Hentges stated that this protects consumers, including babies and infants, as they are exposed to lower doses than that. He stressed the fact that many governmental agencies around the world share the opinion that BPA in food containers is safe and does not pose any risk to human health.
Recently, Maine came a step closer to a total ban of BPA as the state's Board of Environmental Protection unanimously voted in favor of extending a ban on BPA to infant formula packing and baby food containers. The decision came shortly after the Department of Environmental Protection recommended that BPA should not be used in infant formula packaging but found it safe to be used in baby and toddler food containers. Board members decided that there was enough evidence that exposure to the chemical is linked to a number of health problems, including learning disabilities. According to board members, around 80 percent of the baby food market has either dropped BPA from packaging or has started to replace it with alternatives.