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California Proposition 65

The California Prop 65 list is continuously growing and maintained in the Enviropass’ product compliance form that you are free to use while gathering Cal Prop 65 data from your supply chain.

Similar to RoHS and REACH, Enviropass recommends a documentary approach with risk assessments of the supply chain to do California Proposition 65 testing and provide the right warning notice for California residents.

California Proposition 65

California Proposition 65 - The Enviropass Approach

This approach offers the best money value and avoids numerous and expensive chemical analyses.  

Enviropass can assist you in both:

  • identifying the presence of substances in your products; and
  • marking your products accordingly.
Proposition 65 Prop 65

Request your free consultation and see how Enviropass can assist you!

The California Propositio 65 List and Regulation

OEHHA Prop 65

The California Proposition 65, also called Cal Prop 65, Cali Prop 65 or simply Prop 65, stems from an old regulation called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

The idea behind this act is that every Californian citizen has the right to know his exposure to hazardous chemicals.  This approach is similar to the EU REACH SVHC list.

The primary target of the Cali Prop 65 is to protect drinking water from a list of chemicals, listed by the state of California.

The California Proposition 65 list is regularly maintained and updated by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).  Hundreds of chemicals have been listed over the years.

Why is there a California Proposition 65 Regulation?

Hazardous chemicals, known to contribute to cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm, are used in many everyday consumer products.  Think of adhesives, painting, solvent, some plastics, some drugs… even coffee!  All of these products may contain hazardous substances.

Here are some examples of substances in the Prop 65 list:

Prop 65 Chemical NameWhere Used Examples
Bisphenol A (BPA)Polycarbonate plastics, epoxy products, Thermal papers
Bromacil lithium saltHerbicide
Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)BBP is also a Europe RoHS substance, found in PVC, adhesives, paints, inks, lacquers
Carbon-blackRubbers, inks, paints
Chlorinated paraffins (Average chain length, C12; approximately 60 percent chlorine by weight)Lubricant additives, flame retardant in plastics, rubbers, and paints
Cobalt metal powderBatteries, pigments
Coconut oil diethanolamine condensate (cocamide diethanolamine)Bath Products
Formaldehyde (gas)Fungicide, melamine resins
NickelElectroplating, pigment, batteries, magnets
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)Teflon, fire-fighting foams, adhesives
Tetrabromobisphenol AReactive flame retardants, in plastics, adhesives, coatings
Wood dustSawmills

Many Prop 65 substances are used in electrical and electronic equipment and other everyday products. Compounds of cadmium, cobalt, mercury, nickel, lead or hexavalent chromium are examples of these types of substances.

The California Proposition 65 Requirements

The manufacturers, producers, importers, suppliers, or distributors are typically responsible for the Prop 65 implementation.

The retailers in California also have responsibilities, under certain conditions.

The Proposition 65 law – the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 – applies to you if you either have customers of consumer products or own a business of 10 employees or more in California.

The Cal Prop 65 law requires providers to notify the consumer whether a product contains at least one chemical known to cause health issues (cancer, birth defects, etc.).

Some of the chemicals in the Prop 65 list have no significant risk levels (NSRLs), or maximum allowable dose levels (MADLs).  In this case, you don’t have to notify the consumer if you can demonstrate that all of the present chemicals are below their  NSRLs or MADLs levels. To do so, toxicology studies may be necessary.

If any substance in the Prop 65 list is contained, or likely to be present in your products, workplace, and or a public area, such as a hotel, then a specific warning is requested.

Three types of exposures require a warning:

  • The consumer product exposure
  • The environmental exposure
  • The occupational exposure.

For online sales, the warning information must appear on both the internet and on the consumer product itself.

Different warning methods are available, like:

  • On a posted sign on a shelf, at a hotel main entrance, etc.
  • A pop-up before placing an online product order
  • A label on the product itself.

The P65 Warning

As of August 2018, a new so-called safe harbor warning applies before exposure to chemicals, with obligations to:

  • name at least one of the Prop 65 substances contained in a specific product.
  • provide the following link to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.
  • have on the label a triangular yellow warning symbol along with the word WARNING.
California Prop. 65 standard form warning notice
Example of New Safe Harbor Warning - Prop 65

The Prop 65 warning can take various forms depending on the risks of exposure caused by the substances present in a product, which are either:

  • Carcinogens;
  • Reproductive toxicants, or reprotoxic;
  • both carcinogens and reproductive toxicants.

It is also possible to provide a short-form warning.

The short-form warning is a valid option, under certain conditions, which are currently being revised. Indeed, the OEHHA is currently proposing an amendment to Article 6, Clear and Reasonable Warnings Short-form Warnings, to control the use of the Prop 65 short-form notice.

Proposition 65 current short-form warning notice
Example of current Proposition 65 short-form warning

If approved, the amendment will include the following four conditions to the short-form safe harbor warning:  

  • The total surface area of the product label available for consumer information is 12 square inches or less;  
  • The package shape or size cannot accommodate the full-length warning described in Section 25603(a);
New California Proposition 65 Short Form Notice
Example of proposed Proposition 65 short-form warning
  • The entire warning is printed in a type size no smaller than the largest type size used for other consumer information on the product. In no case shall the warning appear in a type size smaller than 6-point type.  
  • The short-form warning contains the name of one or more chemicals known to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity. (This information will no longer be allowed to be omitted from the product Prop 65 warning.)  

Either you decide to use the short-form Prop 65 warning or the regular one, it may have to be provided in a language other than English, like Spanish.

How do I get Prop 65 certification?

It is recommended to verify with your supply chain whether any chemical in the Prop 65 list is present in your product, especially for parts that can be in direct contact with the consumer under normal conditions of use, such as:

  • buttons
  • cables
  • casings
  • labels
  • connectors
  • screens
  • batteries
  • packaging items, etc.

A risk assessment can be necessary, to confirm the substance(s) on the Prop 65 list that may have to be declared.

What if I don't Comply with Prop 65?

If you sell a product without a safe harbor warning that does contain a chemical in the Prop 65 list, then you expose your company to lawsuits.

Some law firms are specialized in this type of lawsuit, and major distributors, such as Amazon, Costco, Pharmacy, Target, and Walmart have had to face legal proceedings.

As a result, the Prop 65 settlement payments go up over the years, to reach a total of tens of millions of dollars. 

The image of non-compliant companies can also be severely damaged.

Other requirements may specifically apply to your products, like California RoHS for electrical and electronic household equipment.

Enviropass is here to assist you in this endeavor.  Ask Enviropass for a free consultation!