California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposes to list two plant extracts via the “Labor Code listing mechanism.” This is a controversial method by which OEHHA adds chemicals to the Proposition 65 list pursuant to Labor Code Section 6382(b)(1). Lawsuits over the years have failed to prevent OEHHA from employing this listing mechanism.
Note that with a Labor Code listing, OEHHA maintains that comments respecting the listing are limited to whether the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in fact identified the two candidate chemicals as carcinogens. This seems straightforward, but often it can be difficult to confirm what IARC did or did not find.
Here, OEHHA concludes IARC determined in its 2015 Monograph that both chemicals are “Class 2B carcinogens,” meaning both chemicals are “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and sufficient evidence exists of animal carcinogenicity.
The proposed listed chemicals need to be understood precisely. Aloe vera extracts and goldenseal root are widely used in dietary supplements and personal care products. Not all commonly referenced forms of these chemicals are proposed for listing.
Rather, only an extract of a specific Aloe plant is proposed for listing (OEHHA notes over 420 species of Aloe plant exist). This is the precise OEHHA explanation of the listing: “Aloe vera whole leaf extract consists of the liquid portion of the Aloe vera leaf and is a natural constituent of the Aloe barbadensis Miller plant.” OEHHA excludes Aloe vera decolorized whole leaf extract, Aloe vera gel, Aloe vera gel extract and Aloe vera latex. None of these are proposed for listing.
The proposed listing for goldenseal root is more straightforward. OEHHA states: “goldenseal is also known as Hydrastis Canadaensis, orangeroot, Indian turmeric and curcurama.” The spice turmeric (Curcuma long Linn) is not proposed for listing.
Note that the Proposition 65 listing process does not take into account whether a chemical is naturally occurring in a food. That is a distinct inquiry. The Proposition 65 list includes many naturally occurring chemicals in food.
Comments on the proposed listing are due by May 26, 2015. For assistance in evaluating whether comments should be submitted, kindly contact us to discuss.
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Judith M. Praitis
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