California Revises Proposition 65 Warning Requirements

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September 6, 2016Kirsten WallerstedtBlog

Alert Summary

On 30 August 2016, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) approved the adoption of a revised Article 6 of the Proposition 65 regulations (27 CCR § 25601 et seq.), establishing the requirements for providing “clear and reasonable” warnings. To be compliant with the amended regulation, businesses will have to reword all their warnings provided under the law. The deadline for compliance is 30 August 2018.

3E Analysis

The new Prop 65 warnings will be required to contain:

  • A symbol consisting of a black exclamation point in a yellow equilateral triangle with a bold black outline,
  • The name of at least one listed chemical,
  • The word “WARNING” in all capital letters and bold print,
  • The URL for the website, and
  • The warning in another language if any consumer information on the product sign, label or shelf tag is provided in another language.
  • Some exceptions and specific provisions are provided.

Examples of the new warning language are provided in the new regulatory text, e.g.: “This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information go to” The use of the phrase “can expose you” (rather than “may expose you”) is now mandated. For environmental exposures, the warnings must also contain the name of one or more sources of exposure.

Instructions for specific product categories (e.g. food, furniture, vehicles, etc.), as well as exemptions from certain requirements, are included in the new regulatory text. One exemption is that on-product warnings are not required to include the name of any chemical. The new language also makes clear that court-ordered settlements and final judgments which establish a warning method or content are compliant with the “clear and reasonable” warning definition as related to that exposure.

The amendments also allow a manufacturer, packager, importer, distributor, etc. to comply with Article 6 by affixing a compliant label to the product, or by providing written notice to the retail seller’s authorized agent and including certain information and items such as the compliant labels/signs. In the latter case, annual renewal is required, and additional notice to the retail seller is required within 90 days when a different or additional chemical or endpoint is included in the warning; these parties are also allowed to come to a separate agreement on the allocation of responsibility for these requirements. The new language also contains provisions for warnings related to internet and catalog purchases, and specific requirements for warnings provided via newspapers and mail.

Business Impact

Companies will have to redesign the warnings associated with all their Proposition 65 products, and redesign warnings associated with occupational or environmental exposures in order to be compliant with the amended regulation. The deadline for compliance is 30 August 2018. Until that date, companies may follow either the new Article 6 or the old one. Warnings for a consumer product manufactured prior to the effective date of these amendments will be compliant as long as they meet the previously in-force requirements (i.e. the September 2008 revision of Article 6).