Product warning labels are an incredibly serious topic and should always be treated as such. Not only are they a viable way of conveying important information to your customers about what chemicals are in your product, but for the most part, you’re also legally required to follow them. If the federal government cares about warning labels, guess what – you need to care about them, too.
But with laws in a constant state of flux, staying up-to-date on all the current rules and regulations regarding warning labels can definitely be an uphill challenge. This is why, if you haven’t already been paying attention to all of the activity surrounding California’s Proposition 65, now would be an excellent time to start.
What is Proposition 65?
As stated, Prop 65 is a piece of California legislation that requires businesses to provide comprehensive warnings to customers about significant exposures to chemicals in their products. Any chemicals that have links to cancer, birth defects and other types of reproductive harm are under an incredible (and understandable) level of scrutiny.
Note that these chemicals don’t actually have to be inside the products that California residents purchase. They can also be located in their homes or workplaces (if you’re a service provider) or can be those that are released into the environment through other means.
At the same time, Prop 65 also prohibits all businesses in the state of California from “knowingly” discharging “significant amounts of listed chemicals” into any and all sources of drinking water.
At this point, it’s important to note that Prop 65 has actually been on the books since all the way back in 1986. The reason why you’re hearing so much about it now is that OEHHA actually adopted a new set of regulations in August of 2016 that affect Prop 65 in subtle-but-significant ways. If you own a business in California or sell products containing toxic chemicals to California residents, you’re required by law to adhere to it – end of story.
What You Can Do About Proposition 65
The changes in Prop 65 require you to provide more information than before, going above and beyond just posting warnings about products and services that “can expose you” to one of the listed chemicals. Now, you must also include information like:
- The name of the chemical that prompted the warning.
- The URL to www.p65Warnings.ca.gov, which includes additional information about those listed chemicals.
- A triangular yellow warning symbol to attract maximum attention.
- Tailored warnings that provide even more detailed information about the specific kinds of exposures you’re dealing with.
- All these warnings must be listed in languages other than English in many cases, and
- They also need to clarify the responsibilities of both the manufacturer and the retailer in these situations.
These new rules actually went into effect on August 30, 2018 – but don’t worry, there’s still time to make sure that you don’t find yourself on the receiving end of fines and other costly violations. If you’d like to find out more information about how to make sure that you’re compliant with Proposition 65 moving forward, or if you have any additional questions about the warning and product packaging labels that you’d like to see addressed, please please contact us, today!