Californian Initiative Proposition 65 (Prop 65) Changes

Californian Initiative Proposition 65 (Prop 65) Changes

If your business is selling products into the State of California, then you should be aware that the Californian initiative Proposition 65 (Prop 65) is undergoing some evolutionary changes to provide increased transparency in their labelling requirements from the 30th of August 2018.

It is otherwise known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which was enacted as a ballot initiative in November 1986 in the state of California.

Proposition 65 does not ban the sale of any product; it requires, however, that warnings are issued advising citizens and consumers of potential risk.


The Changes to the Californian Initiative Prop 65

Current legislation requires a label declaring that products “contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm”. This can be any one of hundreds of chemicals found on The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website leading to many products being labelled as a safety net without any actual consideration for the presence of specific chemicals.


The proposed changes to the Prop 65 labels will now include:

  • The name of at least one listed chemical that prompted the warning
  • The Internet address for OEHHA’s new Proposition 65 warnings website,, which includes additional information on the health effects of listed chemicals and ways to reduce or eliminate exposure to them
  • A triangular yellow warning symbol  on most warnings


A typical label after the changes come into effect would be:

 This product can expose you to chemicals including arsenic, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to

Other highlights within the Prop 65 proposed changes:

  • Adds new “tailored” warnings that provide more specific information for certain kinds of exposures, products, and places
  • Businesses may request tailored warning labels for their products or places if they feel they are not adequately covered by the new regulations.
  • Provides for website warnings for products purchased over the Internet
  • Provides for warnings in languages other than English in some cases
  • Clarifies the roles and responsibilities of manufacturers and retailers in providing warnings

Manufacturers bear the primary responsibility for warnings. They may either label the product itself or provide information regarding hazardous chemicals to the retailer, distributor or importer of their goods. Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees do not have to provide warnings under Proposition 65.


Brands and retailers selling product into California need to be aware of the limits and ensure that products are fully compliant with legislation. Failure to comply with Proposition 65 can have significant financial implications and potentially cause damage to brand reputation.


International Chemical Legislation & Compliance

BLC carry out, in addition to California Proposition 65, chemical testing to the following regulations:


If you are selling product in California and would like further interpretation, Prop 65 testing, or further information on any of BLC’s international chemical testing and legislative support services contact BLC today via or telephone us on +44 (0)1604 679999

16 July 2018

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