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The Scotts Company, Amazon Hit With Malathion Prop 65 Warning Letter

The Healthy Living Foundation (HLF) has notified Amazon and The Scotts Company that they are potentially in violation of Prop 65.

The Scotts Company and Amazon both sell Ortho Max Malathion Insect Spray Concentrate. Malathion is listed under California’s Proposition 65 as a chemical that is hazardous to human health, reproduction, or presents a risk of birth defects. State law requires companies to adequately warn consumers and others who may be exposed to Prop 65 chemicals.

Ortho Max Malathion

Malathion was added to the Prop 65 list of dangerous chemicals in May of 2016. The HLF notification to The Scotts Company and Amazon asserts that workers who handle the spray and consumers who purchase the product must be provided a “clear and reasonable” warning before they are exposed to the chemical malathion.

The warning notice alleges that The Scotts Company and Amazon have failed to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning about malathion’s presence in the products they sell. According to the HLF Prop 65 notice, if the companies reduced the level of malathion in the products to allowable levels a warning would not be required, but at this point in time neither company has taken this step.

HLF also indicates in its letter that it will file a Prop 65 lawsuit against the companies if they do not 1) provide adequate warnings to consumers or 2) reduce the amount of the chemical in the Ortho Max Malathion Insect Spray Concentrate.

“HLF is interested in a prompt resolution of this matter with an enforceable written agreement by the Noticed Parties to (1) eliminate or reduce malathion to an allowable level in, or provide appropriate warning on the labels of, the specified product; and (2) pay an appropriate civil penalty. Such resolution will prevent further unwarned consumer exposures and expensive and time-consuming litigation.”

Proposition 65

California voters approved Proposition 65 in 1986. Under the law, the state publishes a list of chemicals known to cause health problems. The list is updated by various committees who continually evaluate chemicals for their effect on human health. There are currently more than 800 chemicals listed under Prop 65 as dangerous to human health.

Prop 65 requires that companies warn consumers about the chemicals in their products before the consumer is exposed to the chemical or the company can choose to remove or reduce the presence of the chemical to a level that is not hazardous to human health. If a company fails to do so, they can be held accountable by consumers.

Consumers and other groups who are concerned about a company’s failure to comply with Prop 65 requirements can file a Prop 65 lawsuit; however, litigants must follow complex procedures, including;

  • Providing notice to the Attorney General, including copies of the notification and supporting documentation;
  • Providing notice to companies of the intent to enter litigation if they fail to rectify the problem; and
  • Notifying the Attorney General of any settlement.

An experienced attorney can help consumers and other groups navigate the complex Prop 65 law and help hold companies responsible for the chemicals they use. Fill out the form for a FREE case evaluation.


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