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

Multiple Prop 65 settlement agreements/judgments have been reached for phthalates in a variety of products. Many of these also allow a Prop 65 warning as an alternative.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer ProductsNO. 035/20

 SG 03520 Lady with Tote Bag

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.

Companies operating in California must provide ‘a clear and reasonable warning’ before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. This provision becomes effective 12 months after a chemical has been listed.

Phthalates are a family of synthetic chemicals with diverse applications in a variety of consumer products. Their ubiquity in our daily lives stems from their usefulness as inexpensive additives. Their primary use is as a plasticizer in polymeric and rubber materials. In addition, they can be used as dispersion agents, enteric coatings, emulsifying agents, gelling agents, solubilizers (solvents), stabilizers or viscosity control agents.

Among the list of approximately 900 chemicals are six phthalates known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, other reproductive harm or a combination of these toxicities. These six phthalates are:

  • Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP, CAS 85-68-7)
  • Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP, CAS 84-74-2)
  • Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7)
  • Di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP, CAS 68515-49-1 and 26761-40-0) 
  • Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)
  • Di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP, CAS 84-75-3)
Multiple Prop 65 settlements/judgments have been reached for phthalates in a variety of consumer products. These products include toys and juvenile products, DIY, tools and hardware, home furnishings and housewares, sports and leisure, stationery and office supplies, packaging, home textiles, bags and accessories as well as electrical and electronics. 

Highlights of these settlements/judgments are summarized in Table 1. It is interesting to note that many of the products were not in violation of all regulated phthalates in Prop 65 but the parties in these settlements/judgments agreed to reformulate their products for all (six) phthalates on the Prop 65 list. Many of these settlements/judgments also allow a Prop 65 warning as an alternative. Although the parties in entry 31 allow a warning for toys as an alternative for the purpose of Prop 65, it is important that toys (and childcare articles) are required to comply with eight phthalates, including DEHP and DINP, under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) (SafeGuardS 164/17)  
 
Entry Scope Reformulation/Warning for Phthalates
 1 Bath stools ≤ 0.1% each of DBP and DEHP
 2 Book bags ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 3 Bags and other storage containers designed to hold marbles, rocks, pebbles, gravel and other decorative material and which are intended for repeated use
≤ 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 4 Bicycle accessories with weatherproof components
≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP for accessible vinyl/PVC components otherwise warning
 5 Furniture coverings/protectors ≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 6 Gel ink pens ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 7 Haircare tools and accessories
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 8 Inflatable chairs
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and other phthalates on the Prop 65 list otherwise warning
 9 Inspection mirrors
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 10 Knockdown knives 
≤ 1000 ppm each of DIDP and DINP otherwise warning
 11 LED string lights ≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and other phthalates on the Prop 65 list otherwise warning
 12 Luggage tags and accessories with vinyl components ≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP 
 13 Measuring cup/spoon Sets
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP 
 14 Non-slip placemats
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and other phthalates on the Prop 65 list otherwise warning
 15 Ottomans with Vinyl/PVC upholstery
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
 16 Plastic garment bag products
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 17 Plastic material used on luxury gift bags
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and other regulated phthalates otherwise warning
 18 Plastic organizers
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 19 Pencil pouches
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 20 Pouches
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 21 Reusable packaging for diapering stations and juvenile products
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and other phthalates on the Prop 65 list otherwise warning
 22 RFID blocking wallets
≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP
 23 Selfie lights
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 24 Sewing kits
≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 25 Soft baby potty seats
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and other phthalates on the Prop 65 list otherwise warning
 26 Sunglasses and associated packaging
≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 27 Swim goggles, including packaging
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and other regulated phthalates otherwise warning
 28 Totes, bags, and purses and their associated straps
≤ 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 29 Tank bags
≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 30
  •  Textile bedding products, including, but not limited to, mattress pads (all sizes), bed sets (all sizes), fleece blankets (all sizes), and any pillowcases, bed sheets, bed skirts, throws, shams, quilts, comforters, pillows, blankets, and similar bedding products
  • Vinyl/PVC or plastic product packaging or storage and display cases/bags for bedding products
≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP 
 31 Toy blaster sets
≤ 1000 ppm each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 32 Travel bags
≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP otherwise warning
 33 Vinyl jewelry boxes
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 34 Vinyl/PVC seat covers
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 35 Vinyl wall decals
< 0.1% each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP 
 36 Vinyl waterproof outdoor activity bags
≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP otherwise warning
 37 Wallets/card holders and related products
≤ 0.1% each of DEHP and other phthalates on the Prop 65 list otherwise warning
 38 Yarn needles with plastic tubing
≤ 1000 ppm each of BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP 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

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 - 2020 - 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’ prior written consent.