The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65, requires businesses operating in the state of California to provide adequate warnings about exposure to, or the discharge of, chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

What is Prop 65?

California Prop 65 declares that businesses must provide “clear and reasonable warnings” that the chemical(s) being used or sold is(are) known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm. The “Prop 65 List”, maintained by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), is updated on a yearly basis and currently includes over 900 chemicals. The most recent addition to list was Glyphosate (July, 2017), the world’s second most used systemic herbicide and crop desiccant, which came with notable opposition from agriculture manufacturer, Monsanto.

What is the update?

On August 30, 2018, 30-year old Prop 65 will experience changes, due to the amendment passed in August 2016, that are expected to shock global supply chains. The amendment will require the contents of the label to change – detailed information about product, facility or environmental exposures and their repercussions will need to be included on the label.

What does the amendment change?

The changes to Proposition 65 in the coming year include:

  • New labeling requirements that will include specific information about the prop 65 chemical(s) and the potential harm from exposure to that chemical.
  • A warning symbol consisting of a yellow, equilateral triangle with a black outline present on the label.
  • A link to the Prop 65 website where the consumer can learn more about the warning.
  • Industry specific requirements and guidelines, notably for consumer manufacturing, online retailers, and food and beverage.
  • The word “WARNING,” in all capital letters (specific font requirements are in place, depending on the size of the warning label).

What does the Prop 65 amendment mean for companies?

Despite labeling requirement changes that will occur as the amendment enacts, violation fees will remain constant. A business found to have violated Proposition 65, still, may be subject to up to $2,500 per day for each violation. While the amendment was designed to keep all parties in the supply chain more accountable, properly warning consumers of exposures will ultimately be the responsibility of the end retailer, facility manager or area management.

Data collection:

Clear communication throughout the supply chain will be necessary for companies to understand the contents and exposures of their products. With penalties, private lawsuits and potentially product recalls, Prop 65 violations will be expensive.  Instituting an efficient program for collecting and exchanging supply chain data now, will ensure you are in compliance by August 30, 2018. Learn more here.



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