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California Decides Chemical BPA is Toxic

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California on Thursday became the latest state to place restrictions on the chemical known as Bisphenol-A and declare it a reproductive toxicant.

The chemical, commonly known as BPA, is found in hard plastic bottles, the cans of food and beverages, sales receipts and dental sealants.

Growing research suggests that BPA, believed to be found in the bodies of 90 percent of the U.S. population, is an endocrine disruptor linked to infertility and other harm.

Consumer health advocates have pushed the state Environmental Protection Agency for years to recognize that BPA causes birth defects.

Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist at the San Francisco chapter of the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the state's decision.

"They haven't backed down, and I think that's to the benefit of public health in California," she said.

The state agency is targeting BPA under Proposition 65, which publishes lists of chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects. When products in California contain hazardous amounts of a listed toxicant, they are required to carry warning labels. BPA could now show up on the warning labels of hundreds of household items.

The law does not ban the compounds, but consumer backlash can lead them to be phased out of the market.

A state panel of health experts first considered recognizing BPA as a reproductive hazard in 2009 but decided there wasn't enough evidence.

This time, the state based its decision on a federal report that expressed concern about BPA's effects on development of the prostate gland and brain, and behavioral effects in fetuses and infants.


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