California’s Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”), officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, requires businesses to warn the public before knowingly and intentionally exposing them to chemicals “known to the State of California” to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The state maintains a list of more than 850 chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Prop 65 warnings are required to be given by companies with 10 or more employees that do business in the state of California.
Later this month, Prop 65 regulations will go into effect changing the warning most business use to comply with the law. Businesses can comply with these new regulations by posting Compliance Poster Company’s fill-in California Prop 65 warning posters or tailored warning posters. Just search for “Prop 65” on our website to find a warning that can be used for exposures related to your business.
How are Prop 65 Warning Requirements Changing?
Prop 65 warnings are typically stated on product warning labels and signs posted in retail outlets and workplaces. In general, Prop 65 requires warnings to be “clear and reasonable.” To ensure a warning meets this standard, the state has developed “safe harbor” warnings that are deemed to be “clear and reasonable.” New regulations in going effect on August 30, 2018 change these safe harbor warnings.
Content and Methods of Transmitting Warnings
The new regulations in general require that warnings:
- Include the name of at least one chemical
- Identify one or more sources of exposure, on most warnings
- Include the new Prop 65 warnings website, www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
- Display a triangular yellow warning symbol and the signal word, WARNING, on most warnings
- Meet specified size and placement requirements, if specified
For example, a consumer product warning on a posted sign might read:
WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause cancer [and] [or] [birth defects or other reproductive harm]. For more information, visit www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
A consumer product warning on a product label might read:
WARNING: Cancer – www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.”
For consumer products sold over the internet, warnings must be provided on or with the product and online by including a clearly marked hyperlink to the warning using the word “WARNING” on the product display page or prominently displaying the warning to the purchaser prior to completing the purchase.
- Alcoholic beverages, food and non-alcoholic beverages, prescription drugs, dental care, wood dust, furniture products, diesel engines, vehicles, and recreational vessels
- Enclosed parking facilities, amusement parks, petroleum products, service stations and vehicle repair facilities, and designated smoking areas
Who must provide warnings?
Manufacturers have the primary responsibility for providing Prop 65 warnings. Manufacturers must either (1) label the product with the required warning or (2) provide notice and warning materials that will be passed down to retail outlets. The retail seller is responsible for placement and maintenance of the warning materials.
Businesses for whom tailored warnings are prescribed must ensure warning signs are posted in the appropriate location (i.e., at the point of display or at public entrances to the affected area.)
Enforcement and Penalties
Prop 65 allows for public and private enforcement actions. The penalties for violating Prop 65 by failing to provide adequate warnings can be as high as $2,500 per violation per day. Using the safe harbor warnings is an effective way for businesses to protect themselves against Prop 65 enforcement actions.