In­form­a­tion about Cali­for­nia Pro­pos­i­tion 65

Explanation: California Proposition 65

California Proposition 65 (officially „Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act“ of 1986) requires companies that provide products to the market in California to warn of exposures to chemicals.

To this end, a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm is published and updated at least once a year. This list, which was first published in 1987, has since been expanded to include more than 900 chemicals.

By requiring this information to be provided, Proposition 65 allows them to make informed decisions about their exposure to these chemicals.

What does the Proposition 65 warning label mean?

Proposition 65 does not prohibit the sale of a product that contains any of the listed chemicals, it simply requires a warning label on the product.

If a product is labeled in this way, it does not necessarily mean that use of the product will have adverse health effects, nor that the product is unsafe, and thus can be considered an informational right rather than a pure product safety law.

Proposition 65 Limits

The safe limit with respect to carcinogens is calculated to result in no more than one excess cancer case in 100,000 persons exposed to any of the substances for over 70 years.

For substances toxic to reproduction, the limit is calculated so that even if the exposure level is multiplied by 1,000, no birth defect or other reproductive harm is caused.

The limits set out in Proposition 65 are well below the limits set by various European health authorities.

Product Safety

The reason for the Proposition 65 warning label is the basis of the law in California and that the manufacturer also provides the product for the Californian market. Proposition 65 is not a ban on substances - instead, companies can continue to use those substances as long as they point them out.

However, when a product is made available on the market in Europe, it is already subject to the strict EU guidelines of the ECHA (European Chemical Agency).

Hazardous substances are banned from products directly through the substance ban and violations are punished directly through criminal law.

This law ensures that European products are safe without having to explicitly point this out again.

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