New Proposition 65 Warning Label Requirements as Substance List Grows

New Proposition 65 Warning Label Requirements as Substance List Grows

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced the scope of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) will expand to include six new substances on the Proposition 65 list of known substances that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

This list, mandated by Proposition 65, requires companies operating or selling products in California to provide warning labels to the public about the presence of significant amounts of substances on the list. As of September 13, 2019, new additions bring the total number of substances requiring a warning label to 852.

The recently added substances are:

  • 2-Amino-4-Chlorophenol (CAS No. 95-85-2).
  • 2-Chloronitrobenzene (CAS No. 88-73-3).
  • 1,4-Dichloro-2-Nitrobenzene (CAS No. 89-61-2).
  • 2,4-Dichloro-1-Nitrobenzene (CAS No. 611-06-3).
  • N,N-Dimethylacetamide (CAS No. 127-19-5).
  • Para-Nitroanisole (CAS No. 100-17-4).

Learn your requirements under Proposition 65 by downloading our whitepaper, Proposition 65: Understanding the Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act.

In a public notice issued July 12, 2019, the OEHHA explained the substances in questions met the criteria for listing as a known carcinogen in animals and probable carcinogen in humans. The chemicals are used in a variety of applications, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. The agency provided a month-long consultation process, but received no comments on the addition.

The new Proposition 65 warning label requirements come into effect September 13, 2020.

Proposition 65 Warning Label Requirements

Businesses operating in California must notify the public of potential exposure to the toxic substances named in the Proposition 65 list. This notification can be presented as a warning label on the product, distributed in a workplace, business or rental unit or published as a notice in the newspaper. Companies have 12 months from the date substances are added to the list to comply with the requirements. 

Companies are exempt if their use of named substances causing cancer is maintained at the “no significant risk level,” or if substances identified as causing birth defects are maintained at 0.1 percent of the “no observable effect level.” The no significant risk level of a cancer-causing substance is defined as no more than one in 100,000 cases of cancer over a 70-year lifetime. Businesses with less than 10 employees are exempt from Proposition 65.

Businesses are also prohibited from discharging any listed substance into the California water supply.

Proposition 65 Enforcement

Proposition 65 is actively enforced by the California Attorney General’s Office. District or city attorneys are similarly empowered to enforce the act, as are individuals acting in “the public interest.” This provision has led to some law firms act as “bounty hunter” firms, searching for companies non-compliant with the law. 

In 2018, over $35 million USD was spent settling Proposition 65 enforcement charges, an increase of $10 million USD from 2017. Most of the cost originated from legal fees. The maximum fine for a Proposition 65 violation is $2,500 USD per violation per day.

How Assent Can Help

The Assent Compliance Platform automates the data collection processes necessary to meet Proposition 65 requirements. Assent will automatically flag the presence of declared substances in a product by cross-referencing an automatically updated database. To learn more about how Assent can help your program, contact us at