Consumer Products and Retail E-ssentials

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USA: California Proposition 65 Q&A on new warning regulations

July, 2017

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has released “Questions and Answers”1 document of the clear and reasonable warning requirements under Proposition 65. The guidance is provided for the purpose of assisting businesses transitioning to the new safe harbor warnings regulations2 adopted in August 2016.

The business is responsible to issue the warning if they aware or believe that their products can expose individuals to one or more listed chemicals. The warning can be placed on a product label or posted or distributed at a workplace, a business, or in rental housing, and must be given for listed chemicals unless the exposure is low enough to pose no significant risk of cancer or is significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Summary of the noticeable responses are highlighted as follows:

General

  • The new warnings become operative on 30 August 2018, businesses can use either the old warnings or the new ones during the transition period.
  • The warning regulations do not require businesses to perform any testing.
  • Product manufacturers, producers, packagers, importers, suppliers or distributors are responsible to provide either warnings on products, or provide notice and warning materials for retailer seller.
  • The retailer seller is responsible to maintain and replace of the warning materials received.

Consumer product exposure warnings

  • A consumer product that is manufactured beyond the effective date and labelled with an old warning is deemed to be compliant with the new regulations.
  • Warnings must be provided to the consumers prior to the internet and catalog purchase.
  • A standalone warning on the user manual is not considered as compliance to the new regulations.
  • The warning label must be visible on exterior packaging if the exposure occurs after opening.
  • An on-product (short-form) warning3 can be affixed or printed on the product itself or its immediate container or wrapper.
  • A business may either print the warning symbol in black and white or in yellow color.
  • There is no specific type size requirement, however the entire warning cannot be in a type size smaller than the largest type used for other consumer information, and must be in a type size no smaller than the 6-point type.

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