The California Proposition 65 regulation is a Right-to-Know law requiring public notice, prior to exposure or purchase, of the possible hazard due to exposure to a large and growing list of materials deemed by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.

While Proposition 65 does not outlaw those materials for use, beginning Aug. 30, 2018, regulatory changes clarifying “occupational exposure” will bring many AEM products, including spare parts, into scope.

Also known as the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 requires the public to be informed when a certain chemical is present above a designated threshold. Its purpose is to notify individuals that they are being exposed to chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. In doing so, Proposition 65 relies on market forces to eliminate or restrict exposure, assuming that an informed public will choose to buy products that have little or no harmful chemicals.

Currently, there are more than 850 Proposition 65-listed chemicals. Proposition 65 covers three types of exposure:

1. Consumer products exposure – Exposure from things in life

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

3. Occupational exposure – 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:

  • For cancer: exposure poses no significant risk assuming a lifetime of exposure at that level
  • For reproductive toxicity: exposure will have no observable effect at 1,000 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’s important to understand that a warning does not mean a product is in violation of any given product safety standard or requirement. As one might suspect, because of this, warnings are everywhere. The current warning requirements are basic:

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

For More Information

AEM has made available a number of resources to help its member companies and the industry at-large to better understand the impacts of Proposition 65. They include:

Subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor for standards and regulations updates.