California Proposition 65
WARNING: This product can expose you to certain chemicals, which are known to the State of California to cause or birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
- I found a Prop 65 warning on my Warwick Music Group product. What does it mean? “This product may contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm,” is not what you expect to see when you open your new musical product. However, if you live in the state of California and look around, you will find this warning almost everywhere.
This warning is the result of a law passed in California in 1986, referred to as the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, or more generally referred to as “Proposition 65.”
- What is Proposition 65? Proposition 65 is a broad law that applies to any company operating in California, selling products in California, or manufacturing products that may be sold in or brought into California. The Governor of California, through the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) maintains and publishes a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm.
The list, which must be updated at least annually, includes a wide variety of chemicals that can be found in many everyday items, such as dyes, solvents, drugs, food-additives, by-products of certain processes, pesticides and tobacco products. For a complete listing, visit http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html. The purpose of Proposition 65 is to ensure that people are informed about exposure to these chemicals.
Proposition 65 also requires warnings to be placed on any product, product packaging, or literature accompanying a product that contains any of the 850-plus chemicals that OEHHA has listed. Many of the elements listed under Proposition 65 have been routinely used in everyday consumer items for years without documented harm.
A warning must be given if the listed chemical is merely present in a product unless a business demonstrates that the exposure it causes poses “no significant risk.” The “no significant risk” levels established under the law present some of the most conservative public health levels in the world and can often be difficult and costly for a business to prove.
For more information about Proposition 65, visit: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/getNSRLs.html.
- Why does Warwick Music Group include this warning?
Warwick Music Group strives to comply with all applicable laws, including Proposition 65. Providing a warning is a practical way to avoid the uncertainty and financial risk of Proposition 65 litigation and penalties. With the way Proposition 65 is structured, it is not possible to ascertain, with 100% scientific certainty, whether or not a particular product requires a warning for any one of the more than 850 chemicals on the Proposition 65 list.
At the same time, the law allows any private person “in the public interest” to sue companies to enforce the law, and to keep a percentage of the penalties imposed. The law’s lack of certainty about when to warn is often exploited by some who file thousands of Proposition 65 lawsuits every year. Penalties can be very high; the cost of defending a case also is very high.
As a result of the potential penalties and the current private enforcement climate, we, as well as many other manufacturers, have elected to provide the Proposition 65 notice out of an abundance of caution in order to ensure compliance and avoid the potential for liability.
The warning does not mean that our products actually will cause any harm.
Moreover, a Proposition 65 warning does not mean a product is in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements. In fact, the California government has clarified that “the fact that a product bears a Proposition 65 warning does not mean by itself that the product is unsafe.” The government has also explained, “You could think of Proposition 65 more as a ‘right to know’ law than a pure product safety law.” See http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/background/p65plain.html.
We believe our products are not harmful when used as designed. We provide the warning in order to comply with Proposition 65.
- I purchased this product outside of California; why is the warning still included?
Our products are sold globally. It would be extremely difficult and costly to determine which products will be ultimately sold or brought into California. Therefore, to ensure compliance with Proposition 65 requirements, we have decided to include these warnings on all of our products, regardless of destination. If the laws of your local area do not require this warning, you are free to remove it.
Should you have any additional questions regarding the Proposition 65 warning and what it means for you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org