California is considering listing bisphenol A under Proposition 65. Bisphenol A is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Hence, it is an ingredient found in food and drink packaging, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment and medical devices. It is used in the linings of metal products such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply pipes, as well as some dental sealants.
Proposition 65 (formally titled “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986”) is a California law that promotes clean drinking water and keeps toxic substances that cause cancer and birth defects out of consumer products. It is administered by Cal/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Prop 65 prohibits businesses from knowingly discharging listed substances into drinking water sources, or onto land where it can pass into drinking water. It requires labels on consumer products that contain listed substances.
Enforcement of Prop 65 is carried out by citizen civil lawsuits, in addition to lawsuits brought by the attorney general or other government prosecutors. With eight or nine candidates vying for the position of attorney general in the November 2010 election in California, strong public stances against bisphenol A are a political risk for companies producing products containing bisphenol A, in addition to the regulatory risks that are posed by the state’s consideration to list it under Prop 65.