What is California Proposition 65?
The California government paid attention to the health needs of its citizens as far back as 1986 when the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 was adopted. Commonly referred to as California Prop 65, this document was aimed at protecting people from toxic compounds and making them aware of possible sources. Initially, the listing included both naturally occurring and artificial elements that are known to induce cancer or birth defects. Since then, Proposition 65 has been revised and republished annually, and currently contains a list of more than 950 substances, divided into carcinogens and reproductive toxicants.
It is worth noticing that California Proposition 65 does forbid the sale of products that contain these substances. Still, the manufacturer must provide a clear warning of their presence with the indication of exact quantities. For about 300 compounds listed, there is a so-called safe harbour level that must not be exceeded.
Why is CA Prop 65 compliance important?
California Prop 65 is meant to inform people of potential chemical hazards and protect them. To be allowed for sale in the state, all new products must pass testing according to Prop 65 requirements. Companies that don’t follow the rules may incur a penalty of up to $2,500 per violation per day.
What chemicals are on the California Prop 65 list?
The current Proposition 65 list contains over 950 substances that have been known to cause birth defects, reproductive issues, or cancer. It includes components used as ingredients in goods and household items, food, drugs, dyes, pesticides, solvents, etc. The listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction or be a by-product of production operations. The list is revised annually.
How shall I comply with California Prop 65?
According to the rules, the manufacturer must place a clear warning of the presence of such a substance on the product or packaging or at the distribution point. After a new substance is added to the list, the company must do this within 12 months.
Chemicals listed as carcinogenic
A warning is needed if the quantity of a substance exceeds the ‘no significant risk level’ (NSRL). This level is defined as a quantity, exposure to which in a 70-year lifetime gives no more than a one in 100,000 chance of cancer.
Chemicals listed as causing birth defects and other reproductive harm
A warning is needed if the quantity of a substance exceeds 1/1,000th of the ‘maximum allowable dose level’ (MADL). This value corresponds to the concentration that causes no harm to humans or laboratory animals and is divided by 1,000.
What are the consequences of non-compliance with Prop 65?
If a product is sold in California and contains a substance from the Prop 65 list without any warning, the manufacturer will get a 60-day Notice of Violation. During this period, government officials can take legal action, and after its expiry, a private company can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Generally, a settlement amount for such a lawsuit is about $65,000. For large retailers and manufacturers, settlement amounts may reach $1,000,000.
Because of potential reputational and financial losses, brands and retailers are aware of Prop 65 testing requirements and care about compliance with these rules. It is much easier to follow the requirements than to deal with the consequences of non-compliance.
Comply with California’s Prop 65 through our expertise
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Contact the 360Compliance team to learn more and be sure that your products meet all the rules and requirements.