(Clarifies that Center for Accountability in Science is a
non-profit group, paragraphs 4-5)
By Sharon Bernstein
SACRAMENTO, Calif. May 8 Plastic drinking
bottles, canned goods and other items containing the chemical
bisphenol-A (BPA) distributed in California might soon be
required to carry a label disclosing that the compound can cause
reproductive harm to women.
Thursday's decision by a board of scientific experts to
include BPA on a list of chemicals known to cause harm is the
latest in a years-long dispute between state experts and the
chemical industry, which says the substance is safe.
The decision was welcomed by the Natural Resources Defense
Council, an environmental group, which called it "an important
step forward in protecting public health."
A non-profit organization generally supportive of industry
positions said the decision highlights the "sheer
ridiculousness" of California's law requiring disclosure of
chemical compounds known to cause harm.
"Regulators are just stirring up more needless fear about
safe products," said Joseph Perrone, chief science officer for
the non-profit Center for Accountability in Science.
That voter-passed law, Proposition 65, set up a system under
which chemicals found to cause developmental or reproductive
impairment would have to be disclosed, whether they are in
consumer products, used in the construction of buildings or used
in other ways.
A chemical industry group sued the state in 2013, when
experts tried to require disclosure of PBA as causing
developmental harm. The state won that case, but the industry
appealed, and the chemical remains off the list while the
litigation continues, said Sam Delson, a spokesman for
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
The product is used in plastic drinking bottles and in the
lining of some canned food containers, among other purposes.
Even with Thursday's decision that BPA belongs on the
state's list of harmful chemicals, disclosure will not be
required for another year, if at all, Delson said. That depends
on a second state process, under which experts must decide at
what level the chemical is harmful to women's reproductive
If the amount in bottles or cans falls below that threshold,
a warning would not be required, he said.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Lisa Lambert)