California Proposition 65 – 60 Day-Notices on Hexavalent Chromium on Leather Products
Six new California Proposition 65 60-day notices have recently been issued alleging that some brands and retailers are selling leather gloves in California that contain hexavalent chromium in violation of California Proposition 65. The notices serve as an intent to bring lawsuit against the recipients.
SAFEGUARDS | Softlines NO. 079/19
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 over 900 chemicals. The law requires businesses offering products or services in California that may expose a person to a listed chemical above a safe level to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning prior to such exposure.
Chromium (hexavalent compounds, Cr (VI)) has been listed as a chemical to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive toxicity since 1987. There has been no settlement on Cr (VI) on textiles, footwear or accessories products since then. Recently, hexavalent chromium compounds has become a frequent Prop 65 target for gloves made with leather. It is alleged that some leather gloves in the market contain hexavalent chromium compounds, which are considered under the law to pose a risk to the consumer. Six “Notices of Violation” have been issued to address consumer exposures to Cr (VI) in those leather products, including work and gardening gloves, sports gloves, driving and fashion gloves, and golf gloves. The human exposures to Cr (VI) may occur through ingestion via hand to mouth contact after wearing, touching or handling the products, as well as dermal absorption directly through the skin. Adverse health effects associated with Cr (VI) exposure include nasal, throat, or respiratory irritation or allergies. In general, Cr (VI) can be formed inadvertently as an unwanted by-product during the tanning process in leather manufacturing, and in storage and shipment of those leather products.
The 60-day violation notice is a legal document that is served to the retailer, brand, or manufacturer who has allegedly violated the Prop 65 warning requirements. Usually, a 60-day violation notice results in settlement negotiations. Once a settlement is reached, a mandated reformulation or defined limit may be suggested.
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