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California Proposition 65: Reformulation of Lead and Phthalates in Consumer Products

SafeGuardSDIY Tools and Hardware, DIY Tools and Hardware, Jewelry Bags and AccessoriesJanuary 15, 2021

Several Prop 65 settlements have been reached for products containing lead and certain phthalates. These agreements allow a Prop 65 warning as an alternative.

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. It 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.

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. Unless exempt, businesses have 12 months to comply with this requirement once a chemical is listed.

Among the list of Prop 65 chemicals are lead and its compounds as well as six phthalates (BBP, DBP, DEHP, DIDP, DINP and DnHP) that are known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, or a combination of these toxicities. 

Over the years, consumer goods containing lead and phthalates have consistently been targeted. In this communication, we summarize several settlements involving products containing these chemicals (Table 1). It is interesting to note that the parties in entries 1 and 2 agreed to a reformulation of no more than 1,000 ppm for DEHP but a more stringent limit of 100 ppm for DBP as part of the settlement agreement. Additionally, the parties in entry 3 agreed to reformulate both lead content and releasable lead as part of their settlement.

EntryScopeReformulation/Warning for lead and Phthalates
≤ 1000 ppm DEHP, ≤ 100 ppm DBP, and ≤ 100 ppm lead otherwise warning
2Tote bags
≤ 1000 ppm DEHP, ≤ 100 ppm DBP, and ≤ 100 ppm lead otherwise warning
3Wheelchairs with vinyl components< 0.1% each of DEHP and DINP, ≤ 90 ppm lead and ≤ 1.0 μg lead (NIOSH 9100) otherwise warning

Table 1 

AbbreviationNameCAS AbbreviationNameCAS
Benzyl butyl phthalate85-68-7 DIDP
Di-isodecyl phthalate
68515-49-1 / 26761-40-0
Di-n-butyl phthalate
DINPDiisononyl phthalate
DEHPDi(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate117-81-7 
Di-n-hexyl phthalate 84-75-3 

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 offers comprehensive testing, product assessment and consultancy services related to California Proposition 65 to help you manage risk in your supply chain for consumer goods such as DIYs, electrical and electronics, hardgoods products, juvenile products, and textile & toy products. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Contact us for more information or visit our website

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: (+852) 2774 7420 

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