A number of Prop 65 settlement agreements involving lead have been reached for a wide variety of products. The parties in these settlements agreed to reformulate or to provide Prop 65 warnings as an alternative.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 188/17

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California Proposition 65 (Prop 65 [1]) is the ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’, a ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly by Californian 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 two 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 of chemicals contains a large number of substances that are known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects and/or reproductive harm. Of these 800 or so chemicals, lead-containing consumer products have been consistently targeted since its listing as a chemical that is known to cause developmental toxicity in males and females in February 1987.

Since late 2016, there have been a number of Prop 65 settlement agreements requiring the reformulation of lead 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 Lead/Warning
1 Bird fountains Warning
2 Brake adapters and related parts Warning
3 Brass finials ≤ 125 ppm/wipe (NIOSH 9100) otherwise warning
4 Brass locks, hose & adapters, and tee connectors ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
5 Brass hammers and brass punch sets ≤ 0.03% otherwise warning
6 Brass plates
(electrical and electronic devices)
≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
7 Brass surface bolt products ≤ 0.25% otherwise warning
8 Brass waste shoes ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
9 Brass Y connectors ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
10 Brass terminals ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
11 Compression connectors ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
12 Conversion kits ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
13 Flasks ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
14 Flow valves ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
15 Hot tool points, which are tips placed at the end of hot tools (devices similar to a soldering iron) for purposes of burning and cutting as part of craft projects ≤ 300 ppm otherwise warning
16 Hydrant adapters Warning
17 Kitchen spray hose ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
18 Subway tiles Warning
19 Toilet tank ball guides, including toilet ball guide adjustable and toilet tank ball guide brass ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
20 Valve cores ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
21 Vacuum breakers ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
22 Vertical poultry roasters ≤ 90 ppm and
≤ 1 μg (NIOSH 9100)
23 Vehicle brake and suspension system components, including but not limited to air coils ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
24 Washer gutter cleaners and their component parts, including but not limited to coupling accessories ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning

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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