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Multilingual Prop. 65 Warning Potentially Required for Certain Products

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has issued an amendment that may require companies to include multilingual Prop. 65 warning labels in languages other to English.

The multilingual Prop. 65 warning labels will need to be used on products with labeling in includes multiple languages additional to English. According to the OEHHA amendment, when “a sign or warning label used to provide consumer information about a product is provided in a language other than English,” a Prop. 65 warning label in the other language will be required as well.

Under Prop. 65, companies that sell products in California are required to warn consumers about chemicals in their products that could cause harm to human health or reproduction. This amendment would address concerns that those who do not speak English would be appropriately warned about dangerous chemicals in the products they use.

Multilingual Prop. 65 Warning Concerns

The California Chamber of Commerce and business interest groups worry that the multilingual Prop. 65 warning label requirements would be triggered if any information about the product is provided in a language other than English – even without the manufacturers’ knowledge.

“If a retailer adds a multilingual sign in its store related to the product, or posts something on its internet retail site, even without the manufacturer’s knowledge, the manufacturer would be subject to litigation because its warning was only provided in English,” noted the California Chamber of Commerce in comments to OEHHA amendments.

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute hypothesizes that the amendment would require a European company to provide multilingual Prop. 65 warning labels in 27 different labels if a product was shipped to California due to existing EU regulations regarding warnings. The Institute thinks the additional Prop. 65 warnings would be “unnecessarily burdensome.”

The rule is set to go into effect in August of 2018.

Proposition 65 Requirements

Under Prop. 65, manufacturers must include a warning label on products that contain chemicals that are known to cause harm to human health, reproductive harm, and/or birth defects. The warning must currently meet the following requirements;

  • It must clearly indicate the hazardous chemical;
  • The warning must be provided before purchase;
  • The language must be “clear and reasonable” in the warning; and
  • The warning must be “clear and conspicuous.”

Starting in August of next year, manufacturers will also have to consider consumers who speak languages other than English.

Legal Help for Consumers Exposed to Prop 65 Chemicals

Those who are concerned that they have been unknowingly exposed to a proposition 65 chemical because they could not read the warning label can consider litigation to ensure proper warning is provided. With the help of an experienced attorney, consumers who are successful in their Prop. 65 multilingual warning lawsuit can be awarded 25 percent of the fines collected against the company. Prop. 65 requirements are complex, however, and contain numerous exemptions. An experienced attorney can help consumers exposed to hazardous chemicals under Prop. 65.

Contact the Prop 65 attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher today. 


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