SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 084/16

SafeGuardS chemicals

A number of Prop 65 Consent Decrees and/or Settlement Agreements involving DEHP have been reached for a wide variety of products. The parties in these settlements agreed to reformulate 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 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.

The Prop 65 list [2] contains approximately 800 chemicals, including di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7). DEHP has been known to the state of California to cause cancer since January 1988, as well as developmental toxicity and male reproductive toxicity since October 2003.  

Prop 65 places two important provisions on companies doing businesses in California. Unless companies are exempted, these are:

  • Provision of a clear and reasonable warning [3] before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with this requirement 
  • Prohibition 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

In late 2015, a number of Prop 65 Consent Decrees and/or Settlement Agreements (Settlements) for DEHP were concluded. These Settlements resulted in the reformulation of DEHP in USB charger cables and vinyl/PVC materials in a variety of products, including lamps, sewing kits, back stretchers, coated cables, craft embellishments, inflatable boot shapers, self stick sheets and wrist braces. Some of these Settlements also allowed a Prop 65 warning as an alternative. 

A Prop 65 Settlement is a consent agreement between the parties named in the Settlement. Any party not named in a Settlement is not bound by it. Highlights of these Settlements are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1.

Item Product Reformulation for DEHP
1 Lamps with vinyl/PVC components (cords and decorations) ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
2 Sewing kits with vinyl/PVC handles < 1000 ppm
3 USB charger cables ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
4 Vinyl/PVC back stretchers < 1000 ppm otherwise warning
5 Vinyl/PVC coated cables < 1000 ppm
6 Vinyl/PVC craft embellishments ≤ 1000 ppm
7 Vinyl/PVC inflatable boot shapers < 1000 ppm
8 Vinyl/PVC self stick sheets (self adhesive sheets) ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
9 Wrist braces with vinyl/PVC components < 1000 ppm

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
t: +852 2774 7420

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