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SAFEGUARDS | Hardgoods NO. 112/17

SafeGuardS Friends doing stretching exercises with fitness ball in gym

A number of Prop 65 settlement agreements involving phthalates have been reached for a variety of products. Some of these allow a Prop 65 warning label as an alternative.

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 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 [3] 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.

Since Q4 of 2016, there have been a number of Prop 65 settlements requiring the reformulation of phthalates and/or providing a Prop 65 warning label in a wide variety of products. It is interesting to note that there was a settlement agreement involving six phthalates in PVC packaging materials (item 11, Table 1).

Highlights of these settlement agreements are summarized in Table 1. 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.

Item Scope Reformulation for phthalates/Warning
1 Balance balls ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP
2 Bath mats ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
3 Exercise mats ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP
4 Glue gun ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
  • Grip liners
  • Shelf liners
  • Kitchen liners
  • Garage liners
  • Grip-n-stick liners
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP
6 Grip pads ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP
7 Hand tools ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP
8 Heavy duty rod holder ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
9 Hearing muffs ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
10 PVC decoy cords ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP
11 PVC packaging ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
12 PVC roll top pouches ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
13 Vinyl/PVC helmet pumps and needles < 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
14 Walking canes ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
15 Weighted exercise balls ≤ 0.1% DBP otherwise warning


Acronym Phthalate CAS     Acronym Name 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:

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

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