California Prop 65 and BPA in Metal Closures FAQ

BPA and California Prop 65 FAQ

Q: What is BPA?

A: BPA is also known as Bisphenol A. It is a chemical that has been used to make certain resins and coatings since the 1960s.

Q: How is it used in metal closures like those we buy from you?

A: BPA is a chemical used by the manufacturers in the liner on the inside of many metal closures.

Q: Does my metal closure have BPA?

A: It may. We can check with the manufacturer to determine whether the metal closure you buy from us includes BPA.

Q: What is Prop 65?

A: Prop 65 is a California law, more formally known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

Prop 65 requires the State of California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. That list is updated every year and now includes approximately 800 chemicals. The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.

Q: Why is BPA subject to Prop 65?

A: Prop 65 requires the State of California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

That list is updated every year and now includes approximately 800 chemicals. The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.

With respect to BPA, our manufacturers point to several scientific reviews of the safety of BPA by the United States FDA and the European Food Safety Authority which, our manufacturers contend, appear to confirm that use of BPA in food packaging is safe. Further, our manufacturers refer to Health Canada’s Food Directorate which has stated that current dietary exposure to BPA via food packaging use is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants. O. Berk has not undertaken an independent investigation to determine whether the claims of our manufacturers are accurate or whether BPA is safe in general or in connection with food packaging.

Q: Is BPA dangerous?

A: According to our manufacturers, government agencies in the United States, Canada and European Union are of the opinion that BPA is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants. However, O. Berk has not verified these statements from our manufacturers and O. Berk has not conducted any independent study regarding the safety of BPA.

With respect to BPA, our manufacturers point to several scientific reviews of the safety of BPA by the United States FDA and the European Food Safety Authority which, our manufacturers contend, appear to confirm that use of BPA in food packaging is safe. Further, our manufacturers refer to Health Canada’s Food Directorate which has stated that current dietary exposure to BPA via food packaging use is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants. O. Berk has not undertaken an independent investigation to determine whether the claims of our manufacturers are accurate or whether BPA is safe in general or in connection with food packaging.

Q: Are the metal closures I buy from you safe?

A: According to our manufacturers, government agencies in the United States, Canada and European Union are of the opinion that BPA is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants. However, O. Berk has not verified these statements from our manufacturers and O. Berk has not conducted any independent study regarding the safety of BPA.

Q: Does my metal closure have other chemicals subject to Prop 65?

A: According to our manufacturers, the only chemical in the metal closures you buy from us which is subject to Prop 65 is BPA. However, other components of the products you sell may also have chemicals which are subject to Prop 65. You should consult with the suppliers of those other components to determine whether they contain any chemicals subject to Prop 65.

Q: What is a Safe Harbor?

A: The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) adopts safe harbor levels for many, but not all, chemicals subject to Prop 65 (Safe Harbor). A Safe Harbor from OEHHA is the maximum allowable dosage allowed of a chemical that is subject to Prop 65 without requiring a warning.

While OEHHA initially indicated it would provide a Safe Harbor with respect to BPA, we are now informed by our manufacturers that this will not occur prior to the enforcement date.

If a listed chemical does not have a Safe Harbor from OEHHA, Prop 65 warnings are required unless a business can show that the anticipated exposure level will not pose a significant risk of cancer or reproductive harm. In such case, it is the business’s burden to prove the warning is not required.

Many industries or collections of industries publish a recommended Safe Harbor level to help companies decide how to address California’s requirements to label products sold in California with a listed chemical. The North American Metal Packaging Alliance, Inc. (“NAMPA”) has been working to establish such a level with respect to BPA and, according to our manufacturers, has been working with OEHHA to establish a Safe Harbor level of 157 ug/day. We are told the process with OEHHA is ongoing.

Q: Am I required to put warning labels on my products?

A: Prop 65 may require you to put warnings on your products. We recommend that your company consult an expert on Prop 65. You can also find information on OEHHA'S website at http://www.oehha.org/prop65.html, and a variety of other resources are available online.

Q: Are there exceptions to warning requirements?

A: There are limited exceptions to the warning requirements of Prop 65.

If the State of California has issued a Safe Harbor for a particular chemical, products with chemical levels which are within the Safe Harbor do not require a warning. That does not apply to BPA because there is no Safe Harbor established by California.

If a listed chemical does not have a Safe Harbor from OEHHA, Prop 65 warnings are required unless a business can show that the anticipated exposure level will not pose a significant risk of cancer or reproductive harm. In such case, it is the business’s burden to prove the warning is not required.

Prop 65 also does not apply to businesses with fewer than 10 employees and to government agencies.

Q: What does the warning have to contain?

A: The warnings must be “clear and reasonable” before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a chemical which is subject to Prop 65. The State of California does not provide specific “clear and reasonable” warnings for use by companies.

Q: How do I find more information about Prop 65?

A: We recommend that your company consult an expert on Prop 65. You can also find information on OEHHA’s website at http://www.oehha.org/prop65.html, and a variety of other resources are available online.

Q: Is there an alternative metal closure that does not have BPA?

A: Maybe. We can check with our manufacturers to help determine if there is a BPA-free alternate metal closure that would meet your specifications.

Q: What should I do?

A: We recommend that your company consult an expert on Prop 65. You can also find information on OEHHA’s website at http://www.oehha.org/prop65.html , and a variety of other resources are available online.

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