Prop 65The California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 or, as it is better known, “California Proposition 65,” or “Prop 65,” has a large impact on our industry. In order to understand what that impact is it is important to understand what Prop 65 is intended to be.

Proposition 65 is NOT a product safety law and is not a product substance limitation law.

Proposition 65 is a Right-To-Know Law. It requires the public to be informed when a PROP 65 listed chemical (Currently the list has over 850 chemicals) is present above a designated threshold. The purpose is to notify individuals that they are being exposed to chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. By doing so this is an attempt to use market forces to eliminate or restrict exposure assuming that an informed public will choose to buy products that have little or no harmful chemicals.

Today Proposition 65 covers three types of exposure:

1. “Consumer products exposure” – exposure form things in your life

2. “Environmental exposure” – resulting from interaction with an environmental medium ( air, water, vegetation, manmade or natural substances)

3.  “Occupational exposure” – an exposure in the workplace

Proposition 65 sets thresholds above which a warning is required. However, the threshold identified is NOT the level known to cause harm. The threshold identified is the level at which:

1. For cancer: exposure poses no significant risk assuming a lifetime of exposure at that level

2. For reproductive toxicity: exposure will have no observable effect at one thousand (1000x) times the level in question

Proposition 65 states that warnings are required if the threshold is exceeded. In those instances, Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide a “Clear and Reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to the listed chemical present in the product.

It is important to understand that the Warning does not mean a product is in violation of any given product safety standard or requirement. As you might suspect, because of this, warnings are everywhere. The current warning requirements are basic:

1. The warning for cancer is: “WARNING: This product contains a chemical know to the State of California to cause cancer.”

2. The warning for Reproductive Toxicity is: “WARNING: This product contains a chemical known by the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” 

On August 30, 2018 the warning requirements change dramatically, including:

  • Who needs to be warned
  • Specific exposure risks need to be determined, and
  • More specific warnings are required

It is important for your company to know of these changes and the impact they will have on you, especially your aftermarket parts business.

AEM is making available a webinar with a subject matter expert on the changes in Prop 65 and the impact on your business. For more information on that webinar, including its data and time, please contact AEM Director of Materials Management John Wagner (jwagner@aem.org, tel: 414-298-4164). 

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