California's Proposition 65 New Warning Regulations

The Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the agency responsible for implementing Proposition 65, announced the approval of amendments to Article 6, Clear and Reasonable Warnings, to the California Code of Regulations. These regulatory changes will affect companies that sell, manufacture, or distribute products in California and will be in effect on August 30, 2018. The warning regulations were altered in part to make warnings more meaningful to the public, reduce over-warning, provide more product/place specific warnings, and update the warning methodology (use of the internet).  The “Safe Harbor” approach (where prescribed warnings are deemed “clear and reasonable”) is maintained but more specificity is required in the warning language. 

In essence, the familiar language posted all over California will be modified.  The phrase “this product contains” will be changed to “this product can expose you”.  The new warnings must identify at least one chemical for which the warning is being provided, provide the OEHHA website URL, and include the warning symbol, . For example, the current Safe Harbor language “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer” will be replaced by “WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including arsenic, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer.  For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov ”.

Product manufacturers have a responsibility to warn and can do so by labeling the product or providing notice and materials to allow the retailer to warn.  It is important to note that tailored warnings are required for some products including dental care, furniture, diesel engines, automobiles, recreational vessels, and amusement parks.  Further, internet purchases will now require online warnings.  For example, the warnings may be hyperlinked by the word “warning” in the product description or by having the warning pop up when a California zip code is entered. 

For further information please visit the OEHHA website: http://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65