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SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 004/16

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A number of Prop 65 settlements involving phthalates have been reached for a wide variety of products. The parties in these settlements agreed to reformulate phthalates or to provide Prop 65 warnings.

California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) [1] is the ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’, a ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly by California residents in November 1986. Since its enactment, there have been numerous lawsuits which resulted in the reduction of carcinogenic and reproductive chemicals by requiring reformulation of consumer products containing such chemicals.

Prop 65 is now more than 29 years old and has been effective in reducing exposures to toxic chemicals. Of the 850 or so listed chemicals, consumer products [2] containing phthalates, flame retardants, and lead have been consistently targeted over the years.

The Prop 65 list [3] contains approximately 850 chemicals, including 6 phthalates. These 6 phthalates are:

  • Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), also known as bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
  • Di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP)
  • ŸDiisononyl phthalate (DINP) and
  • ŸDi-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP)

These 6 phthalates are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, other reproductive harm or a combination of these toxicities. The types of toxicity for each of these 6 phthalates are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1

Phthalate Acronym CAS Toxicity type Date listed
Butyl benzyl BBP 85-68-7
  • Developmental
2 December 2005
Di-n-butyl DBP 84-74-2
  • Developmental
  • Female reproductive
  • Male reproductive
2 December 2005
Di(2-ethylhexyl) DEHP 117-81-7
  • Cancer
1 January 1988
  • Developmental
  • Male reproductive
24 October 2003
Di-isodecyl DIDP 68515-49-1 / 26761-40-0
  • Developmental
20 April 2007
Diisononyl DINP -----
  • Cancer
20 December 2013
Di-n-hexyl DnHP 84-75-3
  • Female reproductive
  • Male reproductive
2 December 2005

Since the latter half of 2015, there have been a number of Prop 65 settlements resulting in the reformulation of phthalates in a variety of products, including bags, book covers, chairs, controller cases, game controller cables, game packs, garden hoses, household accessories, kitchen accessories, kitchen gadgets and tools, safety goggles, safety vests, shower flex hoses and steering wheels. A Prop 65 settlement is a consent agreement between the parties named in the settlement and a party not named in a settlement is not bound by that settlement.

Highlights of these settlements are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2

Item Product Reformulation (phthalates)
1 Bags with vinyl/PVC components ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
2 Book covers with vinyl/PVC components < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP and DINP
3 Chairs with PVC/Vinyl covering ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP and DEHP
4 Controller cases ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
5 Fuel injection pressure testers ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
6 Game controller cables ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
7 Game packs (Carrying cases / travel bags) ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
8 Garden hoses ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
9 Household accessories with vinyl/PVC gripping components ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
10 Kitchen accessories with vinyl/PVC gripping components ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
11 Kitchen gadgets and tools with soft touch vinyl/PVC components ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
12 Pliable PVC-containing replacement parts, accessories, and protection devices for use in or with outdoor power equipment ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP and DINP otherwise warning
13 Safety goggles Warning for DEHP and DINP
14 Safety vests with vinyl/PVC components < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
15 Shower flex hoses ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
16 Steering wheels < 1000 ppm each of BBP and DEHP

Throughout a global network of laboratories, SGS can offer comprehensive testing, product assessments and consultancy services related to California Proposition 65 to assist your risk management in your supply chain for consumer goods such as DIYs, electrical and electronics, hardgoods products, juvenile products, and textile & toy products. For further information, please visit our website.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hing Wo Tsang
Global Hardlines
t: +852 2774 7420

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