What is Proposition 65? California’s
Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as
Proposition 65, was approved by voters to address the growing concerns about
exposure to toxic chemicals. Proposition 65 requires California to publish a
list of chemicals, updated at least once a year, known to cause cancer,
birth defects or other reproductive harm. Proposition 65 also requires
California businesses to post notification about significant amounts of
chemicals in the products they sell, in their homes or workplaces, or that
are released into the environment.
Who is affected by Proposition 65?
businesses and anyone that sells their product in California.
What types of chemicals are on the Proposition 65 list? The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic
chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other
reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in
pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes or solvents. Listed
chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be
byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.
How can a compound be added to the Proposition 65 list?
Proposition 65, there are several mechanisms by which a compound can find
itself added to the list of “chemicals known to the state of California” to
cause either cancer or reproductive toxicity. Compounds can be added to the
list by the panels of the State’s Qualified Experts, either the Cancer
Identification Committee (CIC) or the Developmental and Reproductive
Toxicant Identification Committee (DART-IC). Alternatively, compounds can be
added onto the Proposition 65 list administratively, either because another
regulatory agency (an “Authoritative Body” such as the EPA, FDA, NTP, IARC
or NIOSH) has classified the compound as a carcinogen or reproductive
toxicant, or the compound triggers warnings of product labels.
Can a compound be removed from the Proposition 65 list? Once a compound has been added to the Proposition 65 list, it can be removed, but
only under conditions established in regulation, and only if the OEHHA staff
are convinced these conditions have been met. The process required for
delisting is complex, multi-staged, and time consuming, but worth the effort
if the intended goal is met.
Who enforces Proposition 65?
The California Attorney General's Office enforces Proposition 65. In addition, any individual acting in the
public interest may enforce Proposition 65 by filing a lawsuit
against a business alleged to be in violation of this law. Lawsuits
have been filed by the Attorney General's Office, district
attorneys, consumer advocacy groups, private citizens and law firms.
Proposition 65 is enforced by litigation with the burden of proof
placed on businesses rather the plaintiff. How is a business notified that they may be in violation of
A notice of the alleged violation must be sent to the business 60
days before filing a suit. This is known as a 60-day notice letter,
during which the Attorney General may take over the case. Public prosecutors do
not need to send 60-day notices.
Because Proposition 65 is not
enforced by a government agency such as OSHA, a business should seek legal
advice upon receiving a 60-day notice letter. How can TSG assist me?
provides the technical expertise to support our own risk assessments, to
evaluate third party risk assessments, and to examine the calculations and
models used by plaintiffs. In this way, plaintiffs can be prevented from
obtaining judgments and settlements through the use of unrealistic models or
Our team is
often retained to provide technical expertise in negotiations with
plaintiffs. As a result, our staff is familiar with approaches used by
plaintiffs to generate risk assessments, as well as how to discredit those
prepared by others.
consultants develop a plaintiff's approach in order to ensure that our
assessments will withstand hostile examination and litigation. We will also
provide alternative or counter approaches that establish the validity of our
models, and to question those used by plaintiffs, which are often
scientists have the expertise required to develop, explain and apply sound
exposure models. Our scientists also examine and call into question other
approaches to risk assessment that are excessively conservative or
consultants work as a team to provide the knowledge, experience, technical
expertise and guidance to deter litigation if possible. The same resources
are applied to defend against inappropriate assumptions that are often the
basis of a plaintiff's claims.
For more information, or to
schedule a meeting with a TSG consultant, please
TSG Banner Questions and Answers: California's Proposition 65