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SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 005/16

SafeGuardS chemical scales

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 the use of phthalates to certain concentrations 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. It requires the State to publish a list of chemicals [2] that are known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. The list was first published in 1987 and is updated at least once a year

Prop 65 [3] places two important provisions for companies doing businesses in California. These are:

  • Providing a clear and reasonable warning [4] before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with this requirement
  • Prohibiting from knowingly discharging a listed chemical into sources of drinking water. Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 20 months to comply with this requirement

Businesses with less than 10 employees and government agencies are exempt from these 2 provisions. Businesses are also exempt from these provisions if the exposures create no significant risk of cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Prop 65 has been effective in reducing exposures to toxic chemicals. Since its enactment, there have been numerous lawsuits which resulted in the reduction of carcinogenic and reproductive chemicals by requiring reformulations of consumer products containing such chemicals. Of the 850 or so listed chemicals, consumer products containing flame retardants, lead and phthalates have been consistently targeted over the years.

We recently informed you that there have been a number of settlements involving phthalates.[5] Since the latter half of 2015, there have been a number of Prop 65 settlements resulting in the reformulation of diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and several other phthalates in a variety of products, including:

  • Gripper pads, hydration bladders with tubing, spa accessories, travel mugs
  • Vinyl / PVC-containing aprons, belts, cookware sets, cosmetic cases, organizer covers, toppers on stylus, tubing and tools with grips

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 1.

Table 1

Item Chemical Product Reformulation / Warning
1 DINP Gripper Pads ≤ 1000 ppm
2 DINP Hydration bladders with vinyl / PVC tubing (a backpack or waist pack with 1 or more mobile reservoirs of water or other liquids, containing a hose for hands-free drinking) ≤ 1000 ppm
  • Spa booster seats
  • Spa headrests
≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
4 Phthalates Cookware sets with soft touch vinyl / PVC components ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
5 Phthalates Tools with vinyl / PVC grips < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
6 Phthalates Travel mugs with soft touch vinyl / PVC components ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
7 Phthalates Vinyl / PVC aprons < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
8 Phthalates Vinyl / PVC belts ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
9 Phthalates Vinyl / PVC cosmetic cases < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP and DINP
10 Phthalates Vinyl / PVC organizer covers < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP and DINP
11 Phthalates Vinyl / PVC toppers on stylus ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
12 Phthalates Vinyl / PVC tubing (whether freestanding or serving as a component of another product) ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP and DINP otherwise warning

Table 2 Prop 65 Phthalates

Acronym Name CAS Acronym Name CAS
BBP Butyl benzyl phthalate 85-68-7 DIDP Di-isodecyl phthalate 68515-49-1 / 26761-40-0
DBP Di-n-butyl phthalate 84-74-2 DINP Diisononyl phthalate Not defined in Prop 65
DEHP Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate 117-81-7 DnHP Di-n-hexyl phthalate 84-75-3

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 Toys and Juvenile Products
t: +852 2774 7420

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