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A number of Prop 65 settlement agreements and judgments have been reached for lead in a variety of products. Many of these allow a Prop 65 warning as an alternative.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 063/19

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California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) is the ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’, a ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly by Californian residents in November 1986. This unique right-to-know law requires the state to publish a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or reproductive harm. First published in 1987, the list has evolved to approximately 900 chemicals.

Unless specifically exempted, companies doing business in California have been required to provide ‘a clear and reasonable warning’ before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to lead since February 1988.

Since its enactment, there have been multiple Prop 65 lawsuits which resulted in the reduction of lead (and other toxic chemicals) through reformulation of consumer products containing such chemicals. Over the years, lead and phthalates have consistently been targeted in consumer products. Products containing these chemicals account for the vast majority of settlements and judgments.

A number of Prop 65 settlements and judgments have been reached for lead in a variety of consumer products. These include DIY, tools & hardware products, housewares, instruments, jewelry, seasonal products, as well as sport and leisure accessories.

Highlights of these settlements and judgments are summarized in Table 1. These include, inter alia, the following:

  • Reformulations involving lead content only (entries 13, 23 and 35)
  • Reformulations involving both lead content and releasable lead (entries 2 and 25)
  • The use of Prop 65 warnings as an alternative to reformulation (entries 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 to 12, 14 to 18, 20 to 22, 24, 26, 28 to 31, 33, 34, 36 and 37)
  • The use of Prop 65 warnings only (entries 4, 19, 27, 32 and 38)

It is interesting to note the parties in entries 23 and 25 agreed to the following:

  • Entry 23 – no more than 4 parts per million (ppm) lead content in the lip and rim region of juice glasses and votive holders with exterior decorations
  • Entry 25 – no more than 120 ppm lead content and 1.2 micrograms of releasable lead (NIOSH 9100) in measuring cups with exterior designs
Entry Scope Reformulation/Warning for Lead
1 Battery clamp handles < 90 ppm and ≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead otherwise warning
2 Cuffs/bracelets ≤ 90 ppm for exterior decorations, and
≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead
3 Brass bars ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
4 Brass camera adaptor products Warning
5 Brass compass wheels ≤ 90 ppm and ≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead otherwise warning
6 Brass cavalry bugles ≤ 300 ppm for exposed brass or other metal components otherwise warning
7 Brass dowels ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
8 Brass handles in wax seal sets ≤ 90 ppm and ≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead otherwise warning
9 Brass hardware fittings and products ≤ 0.25% otherwise warning
10 Ceramic tile products ≤ 100 ppm, including bisque and glaze combined in a representative aliquot of the tile, otherwise warning
11 Christmas stockings ≤ 100 ppm and ≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead otherwise warning
12 Cookware, barware, kitchenware, tableware, pitchers and trays with handles or other components made with brass ≤ 300 ppm otherwise warning
13 Copper drinkware with brass components ≤ 300 ppm
14 Copper or other metal barware and kitchenware with brass handles, including but not limited to mugs, pitchers and measuring cups ≤ 200 ppm otherwise warning
  • Coupling nuts
  • Slip joints
≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
16 Cover plates ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
17 Crossbar tapped kits ≤ 0.03% for exposed brass or other metal components otherwise warning
  • Faucet supply kits
  • Guide holders
  • Tap valves
≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
19 Glass rain gauges with exterior designs Warning
20 Gun cleaning tools ≤ 300 ppm otherwise warning
21 Hose coupling nuts ≤ 90 ppm and ≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead otherwise warning
22 Ice maker kits ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
23 Juice glasses/votive holders with exterior decorations ≤ 100 ppm for exterior decorations, exclusive of lip and rim
≤ 4 ppm for exterior decorations in lip and rim area
24 Male quick couplers ≤ 90 ppm and ≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead otherwise warning
25 Measuring cups with exterior designs ≤ 120 ppm and ≤ 1.2 μg releasable lead
26 Metallic fidget spinners ≤ 300 ppm otherwise warning
27 Metal polishing, removal, restoring, and cleaning products Warning
28 Metal sprayer nozzles ≤ 90 ppm and ≤ 1.0 μg releasable lead otherwise warning
29 Nozzle blanks, pressure gauges, and carburetor repair kits with brass ≤ 300 ppm otherwise warning
30 Oar Locks ≤ 0.01% for exposed brass or other metal components otherwise warning
31 Plaster replacement rings ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
32 Spark wheels Warning
33 Sprinkler wrenches ≤ 0.03% for exposed brass or other metal components otherwise warning
34 Stove/burner and torch/lantern/flame products ≤ 3000 ppm (0.3%) for exposed brass or other metal components otherwise warning
35 Thermowells ≤ 100 ppm for alloy components
36 Urinal spuds ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
37 Valve extensions ≤ 100 ppm otherwise warning
38 Weight sets 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.

Through its 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 DIY products, 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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