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A coalition of chemical companies is suing the Jerry Brown administration to stop an additive commonly found in food containers from being included in the state’s list of substances that cause birth defects.

The lawsuit by the American Chemistry Council, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court on Friday, seeks to prevent the state’s Environmental Protection Agency from placing new restrictions on the use of Bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical agent widely used to protect aluminum food cans from corrosion and to strengthen plastic bottles, toys and containers.

Industry representatives say in their filing that the state is ignoring the findings of national scientific experts, outlined in a 2008 report, that there was no proof BPA poses serious health risks. State regulators point to findings in the same report that say the chemical, used in soup cans, dental fillings and other items, could increase the risks of some birth defects.

Placement on the list can be a virtual death sentence for a chemical. Last year, a substance known as 4-MEI that is found in caramel coloring was placed on a list of cancer-causing agents by state regulators. Rather than place labels on their products containing known carcinogens, major soda manufacturers, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi, simply stopped using the chemical in their soft drinks.

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