California Adopts No Significant Risk Level for 4-MEI
California’s Office of Administrative Law has approved a no significant risk
level for the chemical 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI) proposed by California EPA’s
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).
Beginning February 8, 2012, no Proposition 65 warning will be required for
exposures to 4-MEI at or below 29 micrograms per day. The action follows
a December 2011 court determination that OEHHA complied with the law
when it found that 4-MEI, a chemical present in many common foods and
beverages, is a carcinogen known to the state to cause cancer. Used in the
manufacture of various products such as pharmaceuticals, the chemical is a by-product of fermentation often found in soy sauce, roasted coffee and the
caramel coloring added to colas and beer. Additional information about the
court challenge and ruling appears in Issue 420 of this Update.