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USA: California Proposition 65 - short-form warnings proposal revived

NOVEMBER 2023 - ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS, HARDLINES, SOFTLINES, TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is proposing1 to amend Proposition 65 (Prop 65) regarding the safe harbour warning regulations. It aims to make Prop 65 short-form warnings more informative to consumers, clarify other aspects of these regulations, and allow the use of short-form warnings for food products. These amendments are the same as the previous proposal. While news sections are included: tailor-made safe harbour warnings for passenger or off-highway motor vehicle parts and recreational marine vessel parts. Interested parties are welcome to submit comments until 20 December 2023.

Back in January 2021, a similar proposal2 was introduced but the Office was unable to complete the rulemaking process within the regulatory time limit. Hence, the proposal lapsed in May 2022. OEHHA has now just restarted the regulatory process and arranged a public hearing in December. The proposal allows a 2-year transition period for short-form warnings so that products manufactured or labelled according to existing rules can still be sold. The details of the proposal are:

1) Proposed amendments to short-form warnings:

a. Requiring the name of a Prop 65 listed chemical to be included in the warning. Businesses can only affix the warning if they know which chemical can be exposed to users. This measure aims to prevent businesses from over-use short-form warnings; 

b. Removing the requirement that font type size must be the same as the largest type size providing consumer information. The existing provision requiring a minimum of 6-point type size when using short-form warnings remains unchanged;

c. Providing multiple wording options for the warning;

d. Short-form warning is included as an option for food products;

2) More options are available to signal words for both warnings and short-form warnings. The current warning starts with the signal word “WARNING”. The proposal includes other choices i.e., “CA WARNING” and “CALIFORNIA WARNING”. 

3) The warning for products purchased on the internet or through a catalog must also be included on or with the product when delivered to the consumers.

4) Additional options for warning for passenger or off-highway motor vehicle parts and recreational marine vessel parts.

Here are some examples of the proposed short-form warnings:

For exposures to listed carcinogens:

 

⚠️WARNING [or CA WARNING or CALIFORNIA WARNING]: Cancer risk from exposure to [name of chemical]. See www.P65Warnings.ca.gov; or

 

⚠️WARNING [or CA WARNING or CALIFORNIA WARNING]: Can expose you to [name of chemical], a carcinogen. See www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

For exposures to both listed carcinogens and reproductive toxicants, the words:

 

⚠️WARNING [or CA WARNING or CALIFORNIA WARNING]: Risk of cancer from exposure to [name of chemical] and reproductive harm from exposure to [name of chemical]. See www.P65Warnings.ca.gov; or

 

⚠️WARNING [or CA WARNING or CALIFORNIA WARNING]: Can expose you to [name of chemical], a carcinogen, and [name of chemical], a reproductive toxicant. See www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

 

 

[1] OEHHA - Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Announcement of Public Hearing: Amendments to Article 6, Clear and Reasonable Warnings Safe Harbor Methods and Content

[2] TÜV SÜD E-ssential Volume 8, 2022 – USA California Proposition 65 Short-form Warning Label Changes to Undergo New proposal


 

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