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Prop 65 Labeling Requirements and Examples

As a business owner, one of the things that may leave you scratching your head is the many Prop 65 labeling requirements. If your business resides outside of California, you may even be wondering why a California state law affects you. In today’s economy of e-commerce, more and more products are being sold across state lines. Chances are, even if you aren’t based in California, you have Californian customers.

As far as the law goes for Prop 65 labels, whether you are a vendor or a manufacturer, if you are selling a product in California, you are subject to Prop 65 laws and must follow the requirements.  

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What is Prop 65?

Prop 65, or Proposition 65, is a California law that requires businesses to provide consumers warnings about exposure to chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. If a product includes chemicals from the list, then it must have a Prop 65 label. 

The law was passed in 1986 to prevent companies from dumping toxic chemicals into California water sources and has since expanded. The law does not prevent the selling of products with Prop 65 chemicals. Rather, it gives consumers the knowledge so they can decide for themselves.

Failure to comply with Prop 65 can result in a hefty fine of up to $2500 per day, per violation. The law is administered by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and enforced by the Attorney General. Additionally, any individual “acting in the public interest” can file a lawsuit against a company who has not complied with the Prop 65 requirements. 

Prop 65 Labeling Requirements

The burden of labeling products that contain Prop 65 chemicals falls on the business. One of the first things you’ll need to do is analyze the products you sell to discover if any of the chemicals on California’s list are in your product. 

In order to comply with the law, Prop 65 labels need the following elements:

  • A warning symbol
  • The word “WARNING” (bolded, in all caps)
  • An explicit statement of the chemical causing exposure
  • A statement about whether the chemical could cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm

Some products are exempt from labeling requirements. If your product contains chemicals under the Safe Harbor Level, you will not have to label your product with a Prop 65 warning. Safe Harbor Levels have only been established for some chemicals, so it is important regardless that you consult the Prop 65 list to be sure. 

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Prop 65 Warning Label Examples

The exact warning label will differ based on your product and the chemical(s) present. Here are a couple of examples from the Prop 65 website.

  • WARNING: Consuming this product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.  For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/food.
  •  WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals known to cause cancer, name of one or more chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity, or name of one or more chemicals known to cause both cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.  For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/furniture.

Prop 65 Chemical List

Since the passing of Prop 65 in 1986, the state of California has updated the list of chemicals annually. Currently, there are around 900 chemicals on the Prop 65 list. 

These chemicals include ingredients and additives found in:

  • Pesticides 
  • Household products
  • Dyes
  • Food
  • Drugs
  • Solvents
  • Etc.

The chemicals can be synthetic, naturally occurring, or even the byproduct of chemical processes, such as exhaust fumes. 

What products are affected by Prop 65?

If your product has a chemical that appears on the Prop 65 list, you’ll need to label it as such. Here are some of the more common products that require Prop 65 labeling.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Cannabis and THC products
  • Diesel engine exhaust
  • Food
  • Furniture
  • Passenger vehicles and off-highway motor vehicles
  • Petroleum products
  • Recreational vessels
  • Wood dust

If you need Prop 65 labels, Coast Label has you covered. We will help you design compliant labels that will adhere well to your products. Whether you need medical labels, VHB, thermal transfer labels, or Lexan labels, we can make them for you! Contact us today for your free proposal

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