A scientific advisory committee voted to put bisphenol A, or BPA, the troublesome chemical linked to a wide range of health problems for years, on California’s Proposition 65 list of toxic chemicals. The move means BPA-containing products could eventually come with a warning label.
The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment voted unanimously to add the cash-register receipt and canned-food liner chemical to the list, citing strong evidence that the chemical is toxic to the female reproductive system in both humans and laboratory animals.
“This important victory will pave the way for greater protection for California residents who are currently exposed to BPA in everyday items such as canned food and receipts,” says Renée Sharp, Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) director of research. “The panel affirmed what hundreds of scientists and a massive amount of evidence has consistently shown—that BPA harms the female reproductive system.”
Sharp, along with EWG’s Bill Allayaud and Tasha Stoiber, made the case before the committee to add BPA to the Prop 65 list, an official list required by law that must be updated at least once a year. The list has grown to include 800 chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, according to the state agency’s website.
BPA is often found in the epoxy that lines most canned-food containers sold in the U.S., as well as in many other plastic products.
“The resin lining of tin cans contain BPA, a synthetic estrogen linked to ailments ranging from infertility to heart disease. In fact, studies show that the BPA level in the body of the typical American exceeds the amount that blocks sperm production and causes chromosomal damage in animals. Not good.” Bill Gottlieb writes in Health-Defense.
In Gottlieb’s book, Frederick vom Saal, PhD, professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, notes you can get 50 micrograms per liter of BPA out of a tomato can—and that level is going to affect health, particularly in the young.
A ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups in California was enacted in 2011. “The ongoing question is whether the chemicals used in place of BPA in products are any safer,” added Sharp. “It is one of many reasons that we need a stronger federal chemical-safety law on the books.”
To protect yourself, avoid canned food and drinks and opt for fresh or frozen whenever possible; say no to trivial cash-register receipts and ask for an email receipt when you need one; and avoid plastic containers and use glass or food-grade stainless steel to store food and drinks. (Use these plastic-free food storage options.)
By LEAH ZERBE