In an opinion piece for the Sacramento Bee, Shook Partner Phil Goldberg argues that bisphenol A (BPA) should not be included on California's list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm governed by the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Prop. 65). Goldberg emphasizes the role of scientific proof in establishing governmental policy, praising California voters who rejected a ballot proposal that would have required the labeling of products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Scientific proof, Goldberg argues, is lacking in California's case against BPA. National and international regulators have found that BPA does not remain in or harm the body, he explains, but California regulators have added the chemical used in bottling and canning to their list of chemicals known to cause reproductive harms.
"Warnings of false risks, whether about GMOs, BPA or other products, can be as harmful as failing to warn of actual risks," Goldberg writes. "It is not better to be safe than sorry. The purpose of requiring warnings is to help people make smart choices. If products contain warnings of risks that are not real, people may make decisions against their best interests." Further, banning BPA may cause companies to use untested alternatives to rid bottles and cans of potentially harmful bacteria, he notes.
"Progressives should support smart, targeted regulations that provide protections while facilitating the economy," he argues. "When scientific fact loses to political expediency, particularly when it comes to food safety, it is the most vulnerable people among us who will be put at risk."