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What business owners need to know about Proposition 65

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2023 | Business Litigation |

The state government of California actively protects state residents and visitors from accidental chemical exposure.

Under Proposition 65, businesses must provide patrons with clear and reasonable warnings before any intentional or known exposure to a listed chemical takes place. Instead of a warning, businesses can confirm that the anticipated level of exposure is not a significant cancer risk or well below concerns regarding reproductive harm or birth defects.

The stipulation on warnings

Businesses have several options for warning consumers. A product could bear a unique warning label, or the business can post signs throughout the workplace. The state also accepts published notices in a newspaper or distributed notices in a particular area as sufficient warning. Once a chemical makes the state list, companies have one year to produce a warning.

The discharge of chemicals into drinking water

In addition to the requirement for a warning, California law prohibits companies any of the chemicals on the list in sources of drinking water. The state allows 20 months for compliance with the discharge element. There are exemptions to this rule, including government agencies or businesses employing less than 10 people.

The safe harbor levels

Companies that can abide by safe harbor levels could avoid needing to provide a warning. These levels are overseen by the OEHHA, and updates to the list occur frequently. These levels are minimum or maximum thresholds and are set according to safety.

Businesses that do not follow Proposition 65 may face fines and other consequences. Some of the penalties can reach up to $2,500 a day.