California has recently listed PFOA and PFOS onto the Proposition 65 list of chemicals. Businesses have until November 10, 2018 to comply with ‘clear and reasonable’ warning requirements.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 175/17

Test tubes

California Proposition 65 (Prop 65 [1]) is the “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’, a ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly by California citizens in 1986. It requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The list was first published in 1987 and has now evolved to approximately 800 chemicals.

The aims of Prop 65 are to protect the state’s sources of drinking water from toxic chemicals and to reduce or eliminate exposures to these chemicals in consumer products, homes, and/or workplaces. This law is administered by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), part of the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On November 10, 2017, OEHHA listed perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA [2], CAS 335-67-1) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS [3] CAS 1763-23-1) as chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity under Prop 65. The listing of these two chemicals has triggered two important requirements for companies doing business in California:

  • Businesses have until July 10, 2019 to prohibit the discharge of PFOA and/or PFOS into sources of drinking water (Chapter 6.6 Section 25249.5 [4])
  • Businesses have until November 10, 2018 to provide a ‘clear and reasonable’ warning before and intentionally exposing anyone to PFOA and/or PFOS (Chapter 6.6 Section 25249.6 [5]). The new and revised language for a clear and reasonable warning [6] will become effective on August 30, 2018.

PFOA is used in the manufacture of fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers. PFOA and PFOS are surfactants that have a wide variety of applications in the manufacture of consumer products, including carpets, textiles, leather, food contact materials and articles such as non-stick cookware and paper coatings, with anti-water (water-proof / water-resistant), grease, oil and/or stain properties.

Highlights of the listing of PFOA and PFOS are summarized in Table 1.

Date Listed
Toxicological Endpoint
Enforcement Date
Clear and Reasonable Warning
Prohibition from Discharging into Sources of Drinking Water
November 10, 2017
Reproductive Toxicity
November 10, 2018
July 10, 2019

Next step:

Stakeholders are advised to comply with the latest requirements for PFOA and PFOS for the California market

For enquiries, please contact:

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

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