After a year of consideration, California’s Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OHHA) has issued a final regulation for its “Safe Harbor” warning provision regarding Proposition 65. This new provision is designed to give consumers additional information regarding the contents of the products sold in California, particularly when it comes to potentially dangerous chemicals. The new regulation will go into effect on August 30, 2018, giving companies time to comply.
Between now and the date that the new provision takes effect, manufacturers can continue to print labels with existing warning language, as authorized by Proposition 65. This language will be deemed compliant even if the product is sold after the August 30, 2018 date, as long as the product was manufactured before then.
As another option, manufacturers can use the new warning label language immediately and avoid any issues with non-compliance following August 30, 2018. Also, the regulation states that any court order or final judgment approving specific language for a warning label will still be subject to that court order or judgment in lieu of the new label requirement.
From a substantive standpoint, the new regulation requires a wide variety of product makers to provide the names of any chemicals on the Proposition 65 list that require a warning label. Under the existing law, manufacturers can use a safe harbor warning provision that speaks to a variety of chemicals in a general manner, meaning the consumer has no idea which of the 800 chemicals on the Proposition 65 list are contained in the product. This list covers a number of potentially harmful products and chemicals, including phthalates, lead, and more. In addition to requiring manufacturers to list the specific chemical names, they must print a pictogram with the warning, consisting of a black exclamation point within a yellow triangle that bears a black outline. If there is no yellow ink elsewhere on the product’s label, the pictogram can be printed in black and white.
After August 30, 2018, the label must also include specific language: “WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [one or more of the listed chemicals] which [is/are] known to the State of California to cause cancer and other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.” The thrust of this language is to grab consumers’ attention and give them a channel for learning more about the chemicals used in the product or to make the product that may pose health risks.
When it comes to online products, manufacturers must display the language and pictogram with a hyperlink prominently on their web page. There are also some specifications for certain categories of goods, including raw wood, food, and alcohol.
If you have been harmed as a result of exposure to a toxic chemical, the dedicated toxic tort lawyers at Moll Law Group are prepared to help you seek the compensation that you and your family deserve. This type of lawsuit can be complex, especially if it requires toxicology analyses, detailed medical examinations, and poring over countless pages of documents. Having counseled victims across the United States, including in Florida, Texas, and California, our lawyers are prepared to put their knowledge and experience to use for you. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.