Skip to Menu Skip to Search Contact Us Global Websites & Languages Skip to Content

Two new Prop 65 settlement agreements involving BPA in thermal paper and cell phone cases have been reached. The parties in these settlements agreed to reformulate BPA in these products. The settlement for cell phone cases also allows the use of a Prop 65 warning as an alternative.

SAFEGUARDS | Hardgoods NO. 094/18

SafeGuardS scientist working in laboratory

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 has evolved to more than 860 chemicals.

In Prop 65, one important provision for companies doing business in California is to provide 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. It is important to note that the new and revised language for a clear and reasonable warning [3] will become effective on August 30, 2018.

Businesses with less than 10 employees and government agencies are exempt from this provision. Businesses are also exempt if the exposures create no significant risk of cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) has been on the Prop 65 list of chemicals since May 2015, as a chemical known to cause female reproductive toxicity [4]. Since May 2016, enforcement actions against businesses that fail to warn consumers about exposure to BPA have resulted in a number of settlements for thermal paper, and food contact products such as polycarbonate dishware [5]. The reformulation for BPA in the latter settlement agreement has since been amended from ‘no more than 1000 ppm’ to ‘BPA-free’, and no changes to the option to provide a Prop 65 warning.

Since April 2018, two new settlement agreements involving BPA in thermal paper and cell phone cases have been reached. The parties in the former settlement agreed to a reformulation of ‘< 10 ppm BPA’, a concentration value that is strengthened two-fold from the concentration value reported in SGS Safeguards number 190/17 [6]. The settlement agreement for BPA in cell phone cases has opened a new category of products for which parties have been agreed to reformulate.

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

Item Scope Reformulation for BPA/Warning
1 Cell phone cases ≤ 3.0 ppm otherwise warning
2 Thermal paper < 10.0 ppm

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

Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry: subscribe to SafeGuardS!

Read more articles for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry

© SGS Group Management SA - 2018 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.