In November 1986, California voters approved a ballot initiative to address concerns about exposures to toxic chemicals. That initiative became The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name, Proposition 65 also known as Prop 65.
New regulations affecting Proposition 65 was adopted in August 2016 and has taken full effect in August 2018. Changes to the law imposed additional requirements for “clear and reasonable” Proposition 65 warnings.
What Does Proposition 65 Require?
First, it requires the State of California to publish a list of chemicals that are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and requires businesses to inform Californians about exposures to such chemicals. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. As of July 7, 2017, more than 900 chemicals and materials, including many metals and plastics, have been listed.
Second, it requires businesses to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. This warning can be given in several ways, such as by labeling a consumer product, posting signs at the workplace, publishing notices at a rental housing complex, or publishing notices in a newspaper.
What Does A Proposition 65 Warning Mean?
A warning means that the business issuing it is complying with Proposition 65’s requirement to identify the presence of one or more listed chemicals, even in trace amounts. Red-White Valve Corp. has chosen to label all of its products available in North America and Canada, using language approved by the State of California as follows:
Long form warning
WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.
Short form warning
WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm-www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
What kinds of chemicals and materials are on the list?
The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust. The complete Proposition 65 List is available at https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-list.
How can I get more information?
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) maintains a comprehensive website at https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65, which explains the law and offers a list of all the chemicals and materials.