SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 059/17

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A number of Prop 65 settlement agreements involving phthalates have been reached for a wide variety of products. The parties agreed to reformulate or to provide a Prop 65 warning.  Two settlements also include DIBP as part of their requirements.

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

  • Providing a clear and reasonable warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with this requirement. The new and revised language for a clear and reasonable warning [4] will become effective on August 30, 2018.
  • 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.

The Prop 65 list contains approximately 800 chemicals, including 6 phthalates (BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP). These plasticizers are known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, other reproductive harm or a combination of these toxicities.

Products containing phthalates have consistently been targeted [5] over the years. Since the second half of 2016, there has been an increase in the number of settlements requiring the reformulation of phthalates and/or providing a Prop 65 warning label in a wide range of products. Highlights of these settlement agreements are summarized in Table 1. A Prop 65 settlement is a consent agreement between the parties named only in the settlement. Any party not named in a settlement is not bound by the terms of such settlement.

It is important to note that two of these settlement agreements listed in Table 1 (entries 4 and 8) resulted in the reformulation of phthalates to include DIBP, a substance that is currently not on the Prop 65 list of chemicals. DIBP is commonly known as diisobutyl phthalate (CAS 84-69-5). These settlement agreements did not provide the chemical name or CAS number for DIBP.

Table 1. Settlement agreements for phthalates

Entry Product Reformulation for phthalates/warning
1 Crimpers with vinyl grips ≤ 1000 ppm each of DBP, DEHP, DINP, DIDP and DnHP
  • Cup hooks
  • Vinyl coated utility hooks
≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
3 Gloves ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
4 Hanger hooks covered with vinyl (in whole or in part) ≤ 1000 ppm each of DBP, DEHP, DIBP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
5 Sink mats ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DBP
  • Sprayers with viny/PVC tubing
  • Vinyl/PVC tubing components
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
7 Squeegees with vinyl/PVC blades ≤ 1000 ppm DEHP, DIDP and/or DINP
8 Vinyl coated utility hooks ≤ 1000 ppm each of DBP, DEHP, DIBP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
9 Vinyl covers ≤ 1000 ppm DEHP, DIDP and/or DINP
10 Vinyl/PVC cutting mats < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
  • Vinyl/PVC tethers
  • Vehicle brushes with vinyl/PVC bumpers
≤ 1000 ppm DEHP, DIDP and/or DINP
12 Vinyl/PVC tool grips < 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP
13 Vinyl/PVC washer bases (suction cups used in sinks) ≤ 1000 ppm DEHP, DIDP and/or DINP

Table 2. Definitions

Acronym Phthalate CAS
BBP Butyl benzyl 85-68-7
DBP Di-n-butyl 84-74-2
DEHP Di(2-ethylhexyl) 117-81-7
DIBP Diisobutyl 84-69-5
DIDP Di-isodecyl 68515-49-1 / 26761-40-0
DINP Diisononyl -----
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:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Hardlines Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

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