Proposition 65: A Global Compliance Manager Responds

Proposition 65: A Global Compliance Manager Responds

The California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (better known as Proposition 65) impacts every company that sells, or may sell, into the state of California. At the Supply Chain Summit Series event in San Diego, Joe Langton discussed core issues and best practices for managing Proposition 65 requirements using his own compliance program and approach at TE Connectivity as an example.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to ask follow-up questions about his presentation. This blog features those questions and his responses.

Some customers are requesting testing for Proposition 65-listed substances. Is there a requirement to provide testing results?

I always consider customer requirements and requests to be important. I would ask the customer which substances specifically they require test results for, because based on the complexity of the assembly or material, testing can be very expensive. If you can educate your customer and encourage them to concentrate on the high-risk substances in your product, this can alleviate pressure on your team by reducing the number of substances that require testing.

Is a Proposition 65 warning label required if a product contains a substance of high risk, but when used as intended has no exposure?

If there is no possible exposure to the substance during normal use, a warning would not be required.

Is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medical device exempt from Proposition 65?

There are no Proposition 65 exemptions for medical devices.

What are the responsibilities of a distributor vs. those of a manufacturer when it comes to Proposition 65?

A manufacturer is responsible for identifying products with exposure risk to the distributor. However, a distributor may receive a notice of violation (NOV) for not labeling products sold in California. Distributors must also do their due diligence for the products they source.  

Could companies, particularly small companies that cannot afford substantial testing, be penalized for over-labeling or blind labeling?

Yes, any company found over-labeling or blind labeling may be subject to enforcement action.  

If a brass fitting is coated with nickel or chrome, can it be assumed there is no exposure of lead?

There would be no risk of exposure of lead during normal use. The nickel would not wear down to the point of potential lead exposure. However, users of nickel and hexavalent chromium should take caution, as these are both Proposition 65 substances.

Joe Langton is the Global Compliance Manager with TE Connectivity. He has worked in consulting roles for the past 15 years, implementing comprehensive compliance solutions for restricted substances, product lifecycle management and electronics recycling. He has also delivered environmental management systems and restricted substances auditing, implementation and training services in the electronics manufacturing field for numerous organizations. Joe holds a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering, and is a certified quality manager system lead auditor.

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