Are you ready for August 30th, 2018? Proposition 65 is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as “Prop 65”
What is Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. By requiring that this information be provided, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals.
Prop 65 not only prohibits the introduction of such chemicals into the water, but also requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to listed chemicals in products, homes, workplaces, or in the environment.
The warning requirement applies to all companies in the chain of distribution—manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, including online retailers such as Amazon.com.
As part of the law, businesses selling products to people in California must provide “clear and reasonable warnings” before knowingly exposing people to any chemical on the list, unless the expected level of exposure would pose no significant cancer risk. This warning is often in the form of a label on the product or its packaging.
Products that are sold outside of California are not required to have the warning label even if they contain substances that might cause cancer. Some companies that sell products all over the US only label those sent to California, even though all their products contain the same compounds.
- The warning must state that the product or location can expose a person to a Prop 65 chemical (as opposed to the old warning that it may simply contain such a chemical).
- The warning must specify at least one chemical for which the warning is provided, and if the warning is for both cancer and reproductive harm, a chemical must be specified for each.
- In the event a sign, label, or shelf tag for the product is provided in a language other than English, the Prop 65 warning must also be provided in that language.
- The warning must provide the URL “www.P65warnings.ca.gov” on the label.
- The warning must be typed in a size no smaller than the largest type used for other consumer information with a minimum of 6-point font.
- The word “WARNING” must be provided in bold caps.
- There must be an image of an exclamation point in a yellow triangle to the left of the warning in a size no smaller than the height of the word “WARNING.” However, if yellow is not a color elsewhere on the product or packaging, black and white is acceptable.
More about warning labels in California
- For more information and frequently asked questions about Proposition 65, go to OEHHA’s website at: oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html.
- Proposition 65 is reviewed in plain language at: oehha.ca.gov/prop65/background/p65plain.html.
- For a fully updated list of all the chemicals and compounds that are known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, go to: oehha.ca.gov/prop65/prop65_list/Newlist.html.