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New California Prop 65 Warnings Required by August 30, 2018 – Is your business ready?

Companies doing business in California are well-acquainted with the required Proposition 65 signs and labels that warn consumers of exposure to specific chemicals that are known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Beginning August 30th, new regulations go into effect that change the language used for all Prop 65 warnings. The new warning language changes depending on whether the chemical(s) listed are (1) only for cancer, (2) only for reproductive toxicity, (3) for both cancer and reproductive toxicity (lead, for example), or (4) include one chemical causing cancer and another chemical causing reproductive toxicity.  The new warnings can be used now, but are required to be used as of August 30th.

The warnings must also include one of a number of new URLs to the applicable locations on the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s website.

In addition, the new regulations:

  • Include a number of new “tailored” warnings that are specific to certain products or environmental exposure scenarios;
  • Include short form warnings available for use on small products or packages;
  • Provide more clarity as to what will be considered to be a “clear and reasonable” warning by providing express “safe harbor” warnings;
  • May change the allocation of liability between retailers and manufacturers, distributors or producers, where indemnity agreements do not already exist.

Because it is required to list one or more chemicals by name in many of the new warnings, companies need to determine exactly which chemical or chemicals should be identified.

Companies need to pay close attention to the required details. For example, in some cases, not only does the language of the warning need to change, but so do the font sizes and signage sizes.

If you would like to consult with an environmental attorney with experience in Prop 65 regarding the new requirements, please contact us.

Jodi Smith is an environmental and land use attorney who represents real estate developers, commercial property owners, manufacturers, energy project developers, and waste management companies. She represents clients in real estate transactions and corporate mergers and acquisitions involving contaminated property and management of environmental liabilities. Jodi also represents manufacturing companies, retailers, hotels, and others regarding Proposition 65. Contact Jodi at jsmith@jmbm.com or 415.984.9639.