OEHHA Takes Steps to Finalize Proposed Coffee Regulation

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California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has taken a potentially final step toward exempting coffee from Proposition 65 warnings.

The agency had proposed in June 2018 that it intended to create a specific exemption for exposures to acrylamide and other Proposition 65-listed chemicals that are in present in coffee as a result of roasting coffee beans

The regulation would establish as a matter of law that exposures to acrylamide and 14 other Proposition 65 chemicals, created when coffee beans are roasted, pose no significant risk of cancer, thereby exempting them from warnings:

  • 25704. Exposures to Listed Chemicals in Coffee Posing No Significant Risk

Exposures to listed chemicals in coffee created by and inherent in the processes of roasting coffee beans or brewing coffee do not pose a significant risk of cancer.

Public comments on the proposal closed on August 30, 2018. OEHHA has now completed its review and response to  comments, including multiple submissions from the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), a Proposition  65 plaintiff.

CERT is currently locked in a Proposition 65 enforcement battle with over 60 companies that roast, distribute, or sell coffee at retail, seeking civil penalties and Proposition 65 warnings about acrylamide in coffee. CERT also brought a separate action against OEHHA, challenging the legal and scientific validity of the proposed exemption. Both cases are currently pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.

OEHHA has now completed its review and response to public comments. On January 10, 2019, OEHHA submitted the regulation — with no change to the proposed language — along with its 160-page final statement of reasons to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review.

OAL has until February 19, 2019 to approve the regulation, reject it, or request further information from OEHHA.

LA Superior Judge Elihu Berle ruled that coffee sold in California must carry a Prop 65 warning

The regulation would establish as a matter of law that exposures to acrylamide and 14 other Proposition 65 chemicals, created when coffee beans are roasted, pose no significant risk of cancer, thereby exempting them from warnings:

  • 25704. Exposures to Listed Chemicals in Coffee Posing No Significant Risk

Exposures to listed chemicals in coffee created by and inherent in the processes of roasting coffee beans or brewing coffee do not pose a significant risk of cancer.

Public comments on the proposal closed on August 30, 2018. OEHHA has now completed its review and response to public comments, including multiple submissions from the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), a Proposition  65 plaintiff.

CERT is currently locked in a Proposition 65 enforcement battle with over 60 companies that roast, distribute, or sell coffee at retail, seeking civil penalties and Proposition 65 warnings about acrylamide in coffee. CERT also brought a separate action against OEHHA, challenging the legal and scientific validity of the proposed exemption. Both cases are currently pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.

OEHHA has now completed its review and response to public comments. On January 10, 2019, OEHHA submitted the regulation — with no change to the proposed language — along with its 160-page final statement of reasons to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review.

OAL has until February 19, 2019 to approve the regulation, reject it, or request further information from OEHHA.

 

About Jack Schatz

Jack Schatz began writing about Proposition 65 and other U.S. environmental laws in 1994. He has also written extensively about Consumer Product safety and product liability issues as well. He is the publisher and co-author of the 2013 and 2017 and upcoming 2020 editions of the Proposition 65 Handbook.He was graduated by the San Diego State School of Journalism.
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