Major Update To California’s Controversial Prop 65 Law

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act 1986 – commonly known as California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65) regulation – has recently been updated to help further protect users of chemical products. Prop 65 is a Californian law which regulates chemical substances officially listed by the state of California as being known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and does so in two ways: The first requirement of the legislation prohibits businesses from knowingly discharging listed substances into drinking water sources, or onto land where the substances can pass into drinking water sources, whilst the second provision prohibits businesses from knowingly exposing individuals to listed substances without providing a “clear and reasonable” warning. The legislation came into State law in November 1986, with the first official list of applicable chemicals being published the following year. The list of substances covered by Prop 65 is made publicly available, and is usually updated at least once a year. Despite being over 30 years old, Prop 65 is still considered a controversial law, in large part because it essentially puts the burden of proof on businesses rather than the government to make a key scientific determination about the safety levels of specific chemicals that companies are knowingly exposing members of the public to. Whilst the legislation has increased public awareness about the adverse effects of exposures to listed chemicals, it appears to put significant regulatory pressure on companies doing business in the state. Update to Prop 65 In August 2016, an amendment to Article 6 of Prop 65 was made to update the regulation with regards to what constitutes a “clear and reasonable” warning. Under this update, manufacturers of any products (including the packaging) potentially resulting in consumer, environmental or occupational exposure to any of the listed chemical substances are now required to provide specific warnings. These new warnings are to include: A pictogram consisting of a black exclamation point, in a yellow equilateral triangle, with a black border (if the label does not contain any yellow, then monochrome may also be used for the symbol). This is to appear to the left of the text. The word “WARNING” in bold type and capital letters. The name of at least one of the chemicals listed under the legislation. It is recommended that manufacturers use the phrase “This product can expose you to chemicals including [chemical name], which is/are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.” The URL for the website There has also been further clarification on how to communicate the warnings at the point of sale when a product is bought via the internet or a catalogue. When purchasing the chemical product online, it will now be a requirement for the warning to be displayed on the same page that the product is sold from, or accessible via a hyperlink, marked with the word “WARNING”. This update to Article 6 of Prop 65 will take effect from 30th August 2018.

Safeware Quasar, 20 June 2017 ; ;