A number of Prop 65 settlements involving DEHP have been reached for a wide variety of products. The parties in these settlements agreed to reformulate DEHP to less than or equal to 0.1%. Some of the settlements also allow the use of a Prop 65 warning as an alternative.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 187/17

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 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 it 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 two provisions. Businesses are also exempt from these provisions if the exposures create no significant risk of cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), also known as bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (CAS 117-81-7), has been on the Prop 65 list of chemicals since January 1, 1988 as a chemical known to cause cancer. Since January 1989, enforcement actions against businesses that fail to warn consumers about exposure to DEHP have resulted in a number of settlement agreements [5].

Since late 2016, there have been a number of Prop 65 settlement agreements requiring the reformulation of DEHP and/or providing a Prop 65 warning label in a wide variety of products.

Highlights of these settlement agreements are summarized in Table 1.

Entry Scope Reformulation for DEHP/Warning
1 Backpacks with vinyl/PVC handles and/or other components ≤ 1000 ppm
2 Badge/ID holders < 0.1%
3 Drawer liners ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
4 Faux leather kid’s vests ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
5 Fender covers ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
6 Hat luggage cases with vinyl/PVC shoulder straps ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
7 Hats ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
8 Inflatable vinyl cushion ≤ 0.1%
9 Multimeters with vinyl/PVC components ≤ 1000 ppm
10 Neck rest ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
11 Personal coolers with vinyl/PVC hose < 0.1% otherwise warning
12 Shower and storage caddies ≤ 1000 ppm otherwise warning
13 Solar panel wires ≤ 1000 ppm
14 Vinyl/PVC earphone cords < 0.1%
15 Vinyl/PVC hose (beer bottle fillers) ≤ 0.1%

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.

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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