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California to Consider Listing Vinyl Acetate as a Carcinogen under Prop 65


Vinyl acetate, a monomer that may be used in various plastic food-contact materials, as well as in formulated coatings for food packaging, is one of five substances being considered for listing as a carcinogen under California Proposition 65. Also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 prohibits knowingly exposing any individual to a listed chemical without first providing a “clear and reasonable warning” to such individual. 

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that the Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) will discuss vinyl acetate for possible preparation of hazard identification materials at its November 15 meeting. The notice is the first step in the process of listing chemicals based on a decision of the expert committee, which is one of several mechanisms for adding substances to the Proposition 65 list. At a later date, OEHHA will select chemicals for preparation of hazard identification materials and announce those decisions in a separate notice. If hazard identification materials are prepared for vinyl acetate, the CIC listing decision would be unlikely to occur for at least another year.

CIC members are appointed by the Governor and are designated as the “State’s Qualified Experts” for evaluating chemicals under Proposition 65. OEHHA staff scientists compile all relevant scientific evidence on various chemicals for the Committee to review. The Committee also considers comments from the public, which can be submitted in this case until October 24, before making its recommendation. Were vinyl acetate to be added to the Proposition 65 list as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer, compliance with warning requirements would become effective one year after the listing takes effect.

For more information, see OEHHA’s website.