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California’s Proposition 65

California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) is a regulation intended to alert consumers about the presence of hazardous chemicals in foods, supplements, consumer goods, and other products and places – specifically carcinogens and reproductive toxicants (fertility and development). Prop 65 was intended by its authors to protect California citizens and the State's drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals.

No person in the course of doing business in California shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical know to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving clear and reasonable warning to such individual…

Products that contain even a detectable amount of any one of more of 900 chemicals require products to contain a “clear and reasonable” Proposition 65 warning. California requires companies that manufacture impacted products to provide a warning with the following components:

  • A symbol consisting of a black exclamation point in an equilateral triangle with a bold black outline
  • The word “WARNING” in all capital letters and bold print
  • Type of hazard- Carcinogen, Reproductive Harm, or both
  • The URL for the website

See below for an example you may see on a Houghton product label:

When this “safe harbor” warning is used, no specific chemical or any other information is required to be provided.

Prop 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. Prop 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) administers the Proposition 65 program. OEHHA, which is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), also evaluates all currently available scientific information on substances considered for placement on the Proposition 65 list.

The OEHHAs Proposition 65 list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be by-products of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.

Please see below for a link to Frequently Asked Questions, as well as a link to other helpful websites regarding California Proposition 65.