Proposition 65


CHANGE  continues supporting the purpose of Prop 65 is to protect Californians from exposures to toxic chemicals by providing
adequate warnings of potential exposures. The legislature may only amend Prop 65 to further the statute’s purposes, i.e. to protect Californians from chemicals that cause cancer and reproductive harm, to disclose exposure to such chemicals, to deter business practices that harm public health, and to protect Californians’ right to information that equips them to protect themselves and their
families from toxic chemicals.

What is Proposition 65?

In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The list has grown to include over 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

What chemicals are on the Proposition 65 list?

The Proposition 65 list contains two types of chemicals: carcinogens, which can cause cancer, and reproductive toxicants, which cause birth defects or other reproductive harm, such as sterility or miscarriages. Some chemicals may be additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, or drugs. Others may be industrial chemicals, dyes, or solvents used in dry cleaning, manufacturing, and construction. Still others may be byproducts of chemical processes; for example, motor vehicle exhaust.

What does a Proposition 65 warning mean?

Under Proposition 65, businesses are required to give a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly exposing anyone to a listed chemical above a specified level. This warning can be included on the label of a consumer product or
published in a newspaper. An equally common practice is for businesses to provide a warning at the workplace or in a public area affected by the chemical.