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California Proposition 65 for Consumer Products

A Proactive Approach to Chemical Risks and Brand Protection

California Proposition 65: The Business Challenge

California Proposition 65 affects all products sold or distributed in California, including textiles, hard goods, toys, juvenile products, and electrical/electronic items. In its simplest form, as it pertains to consumer products, Prop 65 can be considered a consumer “right-to-know law” that informs consumers if certain hazardous chemicals are present in a product or its packaging. However, compliance can be complicated. Limits for identified chemicals can vary both by the particular substance and product. Also, pre-existing requirements don’t exist for all chemicals and product types. Rather, product limits are established based on settlements resulting from litigation brought forward by individuals or groups challenging the safety of chemical levels in particular products.

California Proposition 65: The Solution

What is California Proposition 65?

Proposition 65, known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, was enacted in California in 1986. This Act requires that anyone in the course of doing business who exposes an individual to a chemical “known to the State” to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity must first give a “clear and reasonable” warning. Currently over 740 chemicals are listed by the State of California as known carcinogens or reproductive toxins, and lead is one such chemical. Violators can face fines of up to $2,500 per violation, per day, and each piece sold in California would be considered a separate violation. The Act affects all products sold or distributed in California.


How to comply with Proposition 65

• Determine if your product contains any listed Prop 65 chemical in the product or packaging.

• Identify exposure routes to the chemical from your product (i.e., inhalation, ingestion, absorption, etc.).

• Assess the level of exposure by comparing chemical levels in your product to California’s criteria for No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs) or MADL (Maximum Acceptable Dose Level (MADLs) and generate data showing Risk Level.

• If the exposure is in excess of the California’s NSRL or MADL levels, then product must provide the appropriate warning to the consumer.

• Work with a knowledgeable and experienced third-party quality assurance provider / laboratory to assist you with this process.

Our Approach
By monitoring Proposition 65 actions and settlements, we help retailers and manufacturers take a proactive and comprehensive approach to compliance. We assist our clients in determining if listed Prop 65 chemicals are present in their products; identifying exposure routes and assessing the risk levels in items. We then help our clients to build in the appropriate requirements into their testing and quality assurance program an ongoing basis. Our services include:

Analytical Testing Services: Identifies levels of listed Prop 65 substances in a product and test to current consent decrees
Design Evaluations: Reviews product construction and/or formulations with possible recommendations
Technical Opinion Letters: Evaluates your formulation against the current list of Prop 65 chemicals

Components for Compliance
• Understand your products and the chemicals used to produce them
• Communicate your policies related to Proposition 65 and similar chemical requirements within your company and full supply chain.
• Support and monitor your supply chain
     – Training and awareness
     – Bill of Materials and Bill of Substance Review
     – Chemical Management System – Audits
     – Ongoing Compliance – Audits
     – Product Compliance Testing

Learn about our Bureau Veritas' California Proposition 65 – Safe Harbor Assessments

Download our CA Proposition 65 Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Bureau Veritas?


For over 35 years, we have worked successfully with top manufacturers and retailers around the world to help them better manage risk and assure regulatory compliance.


Worldwide Locations

With locations close to sourcing areas in over 40 countries, we offer you the convenience of global coverage with local service where you need it.


Technical Knowledge & Leadership

Our staff participate in the development of international, industry and regulatory standards worldwide, keeping you and us at the forefront of changes in safety requirements and testing methods.


Personalized Service

At Bureau Veritas, we are committed to meeting your evolving needs and helping you anticipate new market trends. We offer you customized and specialized services to meet your quality assurance needs throughout your supply chain. Providing you with the highest levels of service is a priority for us.

California Proposition 65: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who enforces Proposition 65?

    • The California Attorney General’s Office

    • Local city District Attorneys

    • Others including lawyers, environmentalists, and the public

  • What types of consumer products have experienced litigation?

    Lawsuits have been brought against manufacturers and retailers of a wide variety of consumer products including:

    • alcoholic beverages

    • antacids

    • brass keys/hose nozzles

    • ceramic tableware

    • crystalware

    • correction fluid

    • dental fillings

    • exterior decorated glassware

    • galvanized pipe

    • jewelry

    • lead fishing tackle

    • nail polish

    • PVC computer peripherals

    • PVC electrical tape

    • PVC light strings

    • PVC lunch boxes

    • paint

    • textiles

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