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California Proposition 65: Reformulation of Chemicals in Consumer Goods

SafeGuardSHardgoods, Electrical & ElectronicsJanuary 17, 2023

SG 07/23

Multiple settlements have been reached for a range of consumer products containing Prop 65 List chemicals. Many of 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 or reproductive harm. First published in 1987, the list has evolved to include approximately 900 chemicals.

One important Prop 65 provision requires companies doing business in California 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.

In this communication, we summarize multiple settlements involving a variety of consumer goods containing the following chemicals:

  • One or more phthalates (Table 1)
  • Lead (Table 2)
  • Chromium (VI) compounds, N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol S (BPS), bisphenol F (BPF), bisphenol AF (BPAF), bisphenol Z (BPZ), bisphenol AP (BPAP) and bisphenol B (BPB) (Table 3)

It is interesting to note that a settlement for BPA in phone cases also allows no detectable amount of BPA and six BPA-analogs (BPS, BPF, BPAF, BPZ, BPAP and BPB) as an alternative. These six BPA-analogs are currently not on the Prop 65 list of chemicals (Table 3, entry 4).

Additionally, the parties in two settlements involving chromium (VI) compounds in leather footwear and gloves agreed to reformulate their products to no more than 0.1% total chromium in the tanned leather of these products using ISO 17072-2 ‘Leather – Chemical determination of metal content – Part 2: Total metal content’ (Table 3, entries 2 and 3)

A Prop 65 settlement is a consent agreement between the parties named in the settlement and any party not named in the settlement is not bound by it.


1BBPButyl benzyl phthalate85-68-7
2DBPDi-n-butyl phthalate84-74-2
4DIDPDi-isodecyl phthalate68515-49- 1/26761-40-0
5DINPDiisononyl phthalate---
6DnHPDi-n-hexyl phthalate84-75-3

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