What Businesses Need to Know About Proposition 65

Proposition 65 was first passed by California voters back in 1986, but even today, most California consumers aware of the warnings associated with this law. Also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, Prop 65 mandates that the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) continuously update a list of cancer-causing chemicals, as well as chemicals known to cause reproductive harm. It also requires businesses to post warnings about these chemicals on any products that contain them.

On August 30th, 2018, even more regulations went into effect under Proposition 65, and as a result, business owners have new responsibilities to consider when selling in California. In this post, our Sacramento consumer rights’ attorneys will review what these responsibilities are, and discuss how you can protect your customers from harm – and avoid costly litigation.

What Are the New Prop 65 Regulations?

No matter where you go in the Golden State, you can find a few Prop 65 notices. OEHHA lists nearly 900 chemicals now, all of which require “clear and reasonable warnings” from businesses. For over 30 years, this law has changed the way California consumers think about product-related risks to their health. Although the law has been controversial, its intent continues to find favor with the general public. By allowing private citizens to hold companies accountable for the chemicals they use, and by keeping toxins out of the drinking water, Prop 65 has earned its place as one of the most well-established consumer protection laws in the country.

In 2016, Prop 65 was expanded to include businesses at every level of the supply chain, including distributors and manufacturers. Now, as of August 30th, the “clear and reasonable warning” provision of Proposition 65 has been broadened even further to make it easier for consumers to discover the information they need. As a business owner, it’s crucial that you know and understand what these new regulations entail.

The new August 30th provisions include the following rules for business owners:

  • All warning statements on products must direct consumers to OEHHA’s website for more information about the law.
  • At least one cancer-causing substance must be actively named in the posted warning.
  • Businesses must provide two forms of warnings: a full-length one for website and print materials, and a short-form one for the product itself.
  • A warning pictogram of a yellow triangle containing an exclamation mark must be included with all Prop 65 warnings.
  • If a product contains information in a language other than English, there must also be Prop 65 warnings in that language.

Taking Responsibility for Consumer Protections & Preventing Harm

Aside from avoiding lawsuits, California business owners should be deeply invested in preventing harm to their customers. Because so many of the chemicals listed by OEHHA have been proven to cause cancer and birth defects, taking the time to warn people about these risks is a small price to pay for consumer safety. Also, under Proposition 65, it’s a legal responsibility.

At Kershaw Talley Barlow, we can assist if you have a consumers’ rights case in Sacramento or surrounding areas. Call (916) 520-6639 today for a free consultation.