Originally named the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, California’s Prop 65 includes requirements for sellers to disclose details about exposure to certain chemicals found in every day products.
As further studies have been completed connecting chemicals to an increased risk of reproductive harm, birth defects, or cancer, the Proposition 65 chemical list has continued to grow. The state is also responsible for updating these materials at least once per year with new chemical concerns.
What Consumers Should Know About the Proposition 65 Chemical List
The Proposition 65 chemical list in California is managed by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Since initially published backed in 1987, more than 900 chemicals have been added to the list. Two new chemicals were added by April 2017, and 16 chemicals were added in 2016.
Chemicals included on the Proposition 65 chemical list pose a serious risk to consumers for developing severe medical conditions. Sellers of products containing these chemicals must provide consumers with a warning of the chemical’s presence in the product. And despite the ever-increasing additions to the list, some safety advocates argue that the bar is set too low for dangerous chemicals, and California residents are at risk.
Consumers’ Right to Hold Companies Responsible Through a Prop 65 Lawsuit
Businesses that fail to comply with these Proposition 65 regulations face civil penalties of a maximum of $2,500 each day for each violation. Additionally, companies could face civil lawsuits from both private citizens and the state due to noncompliance.
Private citizens who bring forth valid Prop 65 complaints are eligible to keep one-quarter of the penalties collected from those businesses in addition to payment of attorney fees and costs. According to 2015 data, businesses paid more than $30 million to settle lawsuits due to Prop 65 claims.
Businesses’ Responsibilities to Adhere to Prop 65 Requirements
Due to serious penalties and the fact that the number of Prop 65 claims have increased in recent years, any supplier selling products in California should be aware of Proposition 65 labeling requirements.
An annual review of newly-added chemicals, in addition to an internal audit of chemicals used in products, could help manufacturers and resellers flag issues before they arise. A company that ignores this step or purposefully tries to skirt the Proposition 65 chemical list requirements exposes itself to major risks in the form of fines and civil lawsuits.
With more than 900 chemicals on the list, consumers are more concerned about Prop 65 than ever before. Since California is such a popular market for products, consumers should be mindful of situations in which they believe a company has violated Prop 65 requirements.
Legal action can be taken against companies in violation of Proposition 65. Retaining the services of an experienced Prop 65 law firm is strongly recommended if you plan to file a legal claim against a company for violating Pop 65 requirements.
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