The USEPA is considering a rulemaking in which they would require additional toxicity testing on bisphenol-A, known commonly as BPA. Yesterday EPA published an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" asking for public comment on whether and/or how they should require testing "to determine the potential for BPA to cause adverse effects, including endocrine-related effects, in environmental organisms at low concentrations." The notice is subject to a 60-day comment period.
According to the Federal Register notice, BPA is a high production volume (HPV) chemical and "is a reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant in animal studies and is weakly estrogenic." The concern is that while there have been quite a few studies conducted, many of these have what some believe are significant flaws, thus calling into question their validity and/or ability to be used for regulatory purposes. BPA is a common ingredient in plastics and has come under intense scrutiny for its potential to be an endocrine disruptor. Given the disagreement over the scientific evidence and the significant ramifications of a BPA ban (and the similarly significant ramifications of a lack of BPA should the potential adverse effects be demonstrated), EPA is seeking to conduct definitive testing to settle the science.
In addition to toxicity testing, EPA is also considering environmental monitoring to determine the levels of BPA in "surface water, ground water, drinking water, soil, sediment, sludge, and landfill leachate in the vicinity of expected BPA releases." At present, the advanced notice is focused "only toward the environmental presence and environmental effects of BPA." While EPA continues to work with the Department of Health and Human Services on potential human health issues, it "is not considering any additional testing specifically in regard to human health issues at this time."
The full Federal Register notice can be viewed here. The deadline for public comment is September 26, 2011.