Proposition 65 is broad law that applies to any company operating in California, selling products in California, or manufacturing products that may be sold in or brought into California. It mandates that the Governor of California, through the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) maintain and publish a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm. The list, which must be updated at least annually, includes a wide variety of chemicals that can be found in many everyday items, such as dyes, solvents, drugs, food-additives, by-products of certain processes, pesticides and tobacco products. The purpose of Proposition 65 is to ensure that people are informed about exposure to these chemicals.
Proposition 65 also requires warnings to be placed on any product, product packaging, or literature accompanying a product that contains or may contain any of the 800-plus chemicals that OEHHA has listed. As noted above, many of the elements listed under Proposition 65 have been routinely used in everyday consumer items for years without documented harm.
Prop 65 does not establish acceptable concentrations for any listed chemical; however, the agency which enforces it has established what is called “safe harbor” exposure levels for about one third of these chemicals below which warnings are not required. These “safe harbor” are established for listed carcinogens based on the quantity of the chemical that would result in one excess case of cancer in an exposed population of 100,000, assuming lifetime (70-year) exposure at the level in question. A similar process is used to establish safe harbor levels for listed reproductive toxicants. Additional information in plain language on safe harbor levels is available from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment at http://oehha.ca.gov/Prop65/background/p65plain.html
For more information about Proposition 65, visit: www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65
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