SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 180/16

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

California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) [1] is the “Safe and Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’, a ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly by California residents in November 1986.  The law is now 30 years old and 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 reformulation and/or labeling.

In August 2016, the Office of Administrative Law approved [2] the proposed amendment from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). The amendment contains new and revised language for a clear and reasonable warning. In particular, the warning must include a warning symbol in the form of an equilateral triangle with an exclamation mark. This is followed by the word WARNING. This new law will become effective on August 30, 2018.

The Prop 65 list [3] contains approximately 800 chemicals, including 6 phthalates (BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP). These are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, other reproductive harm or a combination of these toxicities. Over the years, products containing phthalates have consistently been targeted [4].

In the second quarter of 2016, there were a number of Prop 65 settlement agreements requiring the reformulation of certain phthalates in a variety of products, including clear plastic name tag lanyards with graphic designs, exercise balls, flag football belts, floor protection products, pruners, PVC air hose, suction hooks, tool bags, training ropes, USB cables, Vinyl/PVC components in audio cables and tool grips, waterproof pouches and washing machine connectors. Many of these settlements allow the use of a Prop 65 label as an alternative. 

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 settlement agreements are summarized in Table 1.

Entry Product Reformulation of phthalates/Warning
1 Clear plastic name tag lanyards made with graphic designs ≤ 1000 ppm each of DIDP and DINP otherwise warning
2 Exercise balls ≤ 1000 ppm each of DIDP and DINP otherwise warning
3 Flag football belts ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
4 Floor protection products, including but not limited to vinyl tips ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
5 Hand tools (pruners) ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
6 PVC air hose ≤ 1000 ppm DINP otherwise warning
7 Suction hooks ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP
8 Tool bags ≤ 0.1% DINP otherwise warning
9 Training ropes ≤ 1000 ppm each of DIDP and DINP otherwise warning
10 USB cables ≤ 1000 ppm DINP otherwise warning
11 Vinyl/PVC audio cables ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP
12 Vinyl/PVC tool grips < 0.1% DINP
13 Washing machine connectors ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
14 Waterproof pouches ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning


Acronym Phthalate CAS Acronym Phthalate CAS
BBP Butyl benzyl 85-68-7 DIDP Di-isodecyl 68515-49-1 / 26761-40-0
DBP Di-n-butyl 84-74-2 DINP Diisononyl -----
DEHP Di(2-ethylhexyl) 117-81-7 DnHP Di-n-hexyl 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
t: +852 2774 7420

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