California’s Proposed Change to Small Warning Label Could Have Big Repercussions

By neub9
2 Min Read

California companies are permitted to use short-form warnings to comply with Proposition 65, which requires warnings about potentially harmful chemicals on products sold in the state. However, proposed changes to the regulations could significantly impact these warnings. There are concerns among businesses about the impact of these changes.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has proposed changes that would require businesses to specifically identify at least one Proposition 65 chemical for each potential harm caused. This has raised concerns in the regulated community, as businesses had previously relied on the more general short-form warnings as part of their compliance strategy.

The proposed changes also aim to clarify the safe harbor warning requirements for online and catalog sales, as well as provide tailored warnings for certain products. OEHHA’s main concern is that some companies have been using short-form warnings as a risk management strategy without identifying specific chemicals, resulting in over-warning.

Public comment on the proposed changes has been largely oppositional, with concerns about the significant compliance costs, particularly for smaller businesses with multiple products. There are also concerns about the potential confusion among out-of-state consumers and the arbitrary identification of chemicals. However, supporters of the changes, such as the Center for Environmental Health, have noted the potential for increased enforcement action against noncompliant businesses.

Businesses are advised to monitor these developments and be prepared to revise their warnings if the proposed changes are adopted. Developing a structured compliance plan to manage Proposition 65 risks is recommended to avoid costly penalties and legal issues.

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