October 9, 2012
Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted as a ballot initiative in November 1986. The Proposition was intended by its authors to protect California citizens and the State's drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals.
Proposition 65 affects many industries including food, drug, consumer product, cosmetic, and medical device manufacturers. Once a chemical is listed under Proposition 65, businesses have twelve months to comply with warning requirements through labeling, posted signs, and publications, and twenty months to comply with the prohibition of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water. Warnings are not required provided the manufacturer has conducted an exposure and risk assessment that proves that the level of exposure (including drinking water exposure, consumption exposure, residential exposure, consumer exposure and workplace exposure) is less than an amount that would pose a significant risk. Proposition 65 does not ban any products, nor is it a true assessment of potential health risks, rather it requires warnings instead. These warnings must be placed on product or food labels, posted or distributed at the workplace, a business, or in a rental-housing unit. Businesses have incurred expenses to test products, develop alternatives to listed chemicals, reduce discharges, and provide warnings, in order to comply with the law.
At Exponent we work with clients to address a variety of Proposition 65 issues including:
- Determining if products contain Proposition 65 listed chemicals
- Sampling of products including market basket studies for listed substances in food products
- Conducting exposure assessments, including dietary consumption, worker, consumer, or residential exposure
- Evaluation and development of No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs) or Maximum Acceptable Daily Doses (MADLs )
- Assessing exposure by comparing levels in products to NSRLs or MADLs
For a list of current Proposition 65 chemicals, please see the State of California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website
Exponent recently gave a webinar on Proposition 65 and Green Chemistry. Click here
to listen to the seminar.