California Proposition 65 FAQ

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.Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water.

Proposition 65 requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 900 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

Proposition 65 became law in November 1986, when California voters approved it by a 63-37 percent margin.  The official name of Proposition 65 is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

 

What types of chemicals are on the Proposition 65 list?

The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that 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.

Learn how chemicals are added to the list.

 

What does a warning mean? 

If a warning is placed on a product label or posted or distributed at a workplace, a business, or in rental housing, the business issuing the warning is aware or believes that it is exposing individuals to one or more listed chemicals.

By law, a warning must be given for listed chemicals unless the exposure is low enough to pose no significant risk of cancer or is significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

 

How dangerous is it to use a product with a Proposition 65 warning?

The legislation does not prohibit the use of the listed chemicals. It requires that if one or more of the listed chemicals are present in a product, a warning must be provided. By law, a warning must be given for listed chemicals unless exposure is low enough to pose no significant risk of cancer or is significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

According to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment:
For a chemical that causes cancer, the “no significant risk level” is defined as the level of exposure that would result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed to the chemical over a 70-year lifetime. In other words, a person exposed to the chemical at the “no significant risk level” for 70 years would not have more than a “one in 100,000” chance of developing cancer as a result of that exposure. For chemicals that are listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm, the “no observable effect level” is determined by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to not pose any harm to humans or laboratory animals. Proposition 65 then requires this “no observable effect level” to be divided by 1,000 in order to provide an ample margin of safety. Businesses subject to Proposition 65 are required to provide a warning if they cause exposures to chemicals listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm that exceed 1/1000th of the “no observable effect level.”

 

Why are we providing this information?

We believe that our products are safe and customer safety is a top priority. Proposition 65 and California law is structured in such a way that this kind of information and disclosure is encouraged and we are providing it in an abundance of caution.

 

Where can I get more information on Proposition 65?

For information on the Proposition 65 list of chemicals, you may contact OEHHA’s Proposition 65 program by email at P65.Questions@oehha.ca.gov, by phone at (916) 445-6900, or visit http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html.

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