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California Proposition 65

California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (also known as Proposition 65) was enacted 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.

California Proposition 65


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Content Overview

California Proposition 65 is a “right-to-know law” that informs consumers if certain hazardous chemicals are present in products, or their packaging. Our coverage of Proposition 65 in C2P addresses the latest proposals, enactments and amendments to the regulation.

Proposition 65 requires the Governor of California to publish a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The list contains a wide range of chemicals, including drugs, dyes, food additives, solvents, pesticides and by-products of certain processes. Some are ingredients of common household products; others are specialty chemicals used in very specific industrial applications.

Per Proposition 65, businesses are:

  • Prohibited from knowingly discharging listed chemicals into sources of drinking water, and
  • Required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. This warning can be given by a variety of means, such as by labeling a consumer product, by posting signs at the workplace, or by publishing notices in a newspaper.

Under Proposition 65, a warning must be given unless a business demonstrates that the exposure it causes poses no significant risk.

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