State called BPA as it saw it

Lauren Zeise
Lauren Zeise

With a mission to protect human health through scientific evaluation of risks, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity.

That’s why we couldn’t agree more with the headline on a recent Bee opinion article that said science, not politics, should drive California policy on bisphenol A, or BPA.

It’s also why we couldn’t agree less with the body of the article by attorney Phil Goldberg, who falsely asserted that politics trumped science in the recent decision to add BPA to the Proposition 65 list as a substance that causes reproductive toxicity (“Science, not politics, should drive California regs on BPA,” Viewpoints, June 18).

The decision was made by an expert committee of some of the state’s most distinguished scientists, drawn from the University of California, Stanford and private industry, not by politicians.

Prior to meeting, committee members spent countless hours evaluating more than 300 recent studies on the reproductive effects of BPA. The panel reviewed evidence from studies in both humans and laboratory animals. It found that BPA harms the female reproductive system, noting that BPA targets the ovaries.

After a full day of presentations, testimony and discussion of the scientific evidence in a public meeting, the decision to list BPA was a unanimous 7-0 vote.

Goldberg’s article gave the false impression that California is out of step with the rest of the world. In fact, a highly respected federal agency, the National Toxicology Program, found that BPA caused developmental effects in laboratory animals.

A European Chemicals Agency committee recently found that BPA is presumed to harm human reproductive capacity. The European Food Safety Authority also found that BPA is a reproductive toxicant.

Biomonitoring studies have found that more than 90 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies, so a thorough understanding of the toxic effects of this chemical is critical.

The decision to add BPA to the Proposition 65 list was based on science, not politics, in a transparent public process.

Lauren Zeise, Ph.D., is acting director of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.