California Proposition 65- Frequently asked questions
What is Proposition 65 (Prop65)?
In 1986, CA voters approved an initiative to address concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. The initiative is officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The law requires CA to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity and for businesses with 10+ employees to provide warnings when they knowingly and intentionally cause significant exposures to listed chemicals. Prop65 does not ban or restrict the sale of these 850+ chemicals on the list. The warnings help Californians make informed decisions about exposures to these chemicals from products they use and places they go. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) administers the Prop65 program.
Is a product safe if it carries a Proposition 65 warning?
Prop65 notifies consumers they are being exposed to chemicals known to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity. Consumers decide if they purchase or use the product. A Prop65 warning does not mean a product violates any product-safety standards or requirements.
State public health officials and federal government agencies regulate product safety. The CA Department of Public Health issues recalls of food products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food, drug, cosmetic and medical device products. Toys, jewelry, personal care products and other non-food items are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which may issue product recalls. The CA Air Resources Board may ban products that harm the air we breathe.
I don’t live in CA, so why am I seeing a Prop65 warning?
Modern supply chains distribute products throughout the U.S., so it is difficult to arrange for the warning to be delivered only to customers in CA. Many companies include the warning on their product label itself, in literature or on their website, in which case the warning may appear no matter where the sale occurs.
When did the changes take effect?
Effective August 30, 2018, businesses began using the new warning system to comply with Prop65.
What are the warning responsibilities for manufacturers and retailers?
Manufacturers have the primary responsibility to provide Prop65 warnings. Manufacturers can choose whether to put warning labels on their products or provide notices to their distributors, importers or retail outlets that a product may cause exposure to a listed chemical and provide warning signs or other warning materials. Manufacturers can also enter written agreements with retailers to modify this allocation of responsibility as long as the consumer receives a clear and reasonable warning before exposure to a Prop65 chemical. Retailers must confirm they received notice and must use the warning signs or other materials provided by the manufacturer.
Are businesses required to provide the new warnings?
Businesses can provide different warnings if they believe they comply with the law. However, using the safe harbor warnings is an effective way for businesses to protect themselves against Prop65 enforcement actions. Businesses that use safe harbor warnings are deemed compliant with the law’s requirement for clear and reasonable warnings.
Will products manufactured before August 2018 need to use the new warnings?
No, products manufactured before August 30, 2018 must meet requirements in effect at the time of production.
Where Can I Find More Information On Proposition 65 Warning Requirements?
Prop65 and its regulations are posted at https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/law/proposition-65-law-and-regulations. For a side-by-side comparison of current and new regulations, see https://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/crnr/side-sidearticle6090116.pdf.
Disclaimer: This information comes from the CA OEHHA web site. It is not legal advice, but is a means to educate our customers on the Prop65 changes that came about in August 2018. For more information on Proposition 65 warnings go to: https://www.p65warnings.ca.gov/