January 10, 2019

Manufacturer Briefing: California Proposition 65

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Prepared by the Industry Data Exchange Association, Inc.  (IDEA)

December 5, 2018

The following is largely excerpted from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website, https://oehha.ca.gov/:

In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals.  That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65.  Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.  This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include more than 900 chemicals and additional warnings since it was first published in 1987.

Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment.  By providing this information, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about protecting themselves from exposure to these chemicals.  Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water.

Businesses are required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical.  This warning can be given by a variety of means, such as by labeling a consumer product, posting signs at the workplace, distributing notices at a rental housing complex, or publishing notices in a newspaper.  Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with warning requirements.

In August of 2016, OEHHA issued a “Notice of Adoption” related to the expansion of the law’s section on product warnings.  These regulations went into effect on August 30, 2018.  Explanation of the warnings is available in regulatory releases from OEHHA.  A particularly useful Side-by-Side Comparison of the old and new language in the regulation is also available as is the list of Proposed Amendments to the regulation and some Sample Warnings.

Proposition 65 support has been part of the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) from IDEA for several years.  Recently these capabilities were expanded allowing manufacturers to communicate the warnings associated with the regulations.  Additional image fields as well as a dedicated URL field in the IDW permit manufacturers to provide Proposition 65 compliant warning labels for their channel partners as part of the product image set displayed on their websites.

Manufacturers should have their product data teams contact IDEA to see how they can simultaneously reduce risk and increase support for their distributor partners (especially those selling or installing your products in State of California facilities) by taking advantage of this capability.  Call the IDEA Connector Client Solutions team at (866) 479-0484, email IDEAClientSolutions@IDEA4Industry.com or use IDEA’s online contact form at https://idea4industry.com/contact-us/ to get more information.