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A Prop 65 settlement agreement involving bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper has recently been reached. The parties in the settlement agreed to reformulate the products with no intentionally added BPA.

SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 190/17

SafeGuardS chemicals2

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.

BPA (CAS 80-05-7) has been on the Prop 65 list of chemicals since May 11, 2015, as a chemical known to cause female reproductive toxicity [5]. Since May 2016, enforcement actions against businesses that fail to warn consumers about exposure to BPA have resulted in several settlement agreements.

In December 2017, a settlement agreement involving BPA in thermal paper was reached. Highlights of this settlement are summarized in Table 1.

Substance Scope Reformulation
BPA Thermal paper < 20 ppm (no intentionally added BPA)

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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