California Proposition 65
There have been some questions recently regarding the California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) warning labels that are placed on some of our products. What follows is a brief explanation of what the warnings are for and what they mean.
Prop 65 is nothing new. In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 and is better known by its original name, Proposition 65. It is intended to help Californians make informed decisions about protecting themselves from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
The Prop 65 program is administered by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Prop 65 requires that any person in the course of doing business who exposes an individual in California to any detectable amount of a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity to give a clear and reasonable warning. The state maintains a list of approximately 800 (and growing) chemicals that are subject to the provisions of Prop 65.
Consumer product exposure warnings must be prominently displayed on a label or labeling and must be displayed with conspicuousness when compared to other words, statements, designs, or devices on the label or labeling. Consumer product exposure warnings must be prominently displayed such that the warning is likely to be seen, read, and understood by an ordinary individual under customary conditions of purchase or use.
The warning appears on products sold across the country even though the label is only a requirement in the State of California because companies like Suncast do not always know where their products will be sold so it is easier and less expensive to place a label on each product if that particular product line requires one. A Proposition 65 warning informs a consumer that s/he is being exposed to carcinogens or reproductive toxins that exceed certain threshold levels. This is not the same as a regulatory decision that a product is "safe" or "unsafe."
Some of our products contain a plasticizer (a substance added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity) Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, better known as DEHP, which is the most common member of the class of phthalates. DEHP is a component of many household items, including tablecloths, floor tiles, shower curtains, garden hoses, rainwear, dolls, toys, shoes, medical tubing, furniture upholstery, and swimming pool liners. Common exposures come from the use of DEHP as a fragrance carrier in cosmetics, personal care products, laundry detergents, colognes, scented candles, and air fresheners. DEHP is classified as a “chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” As such, our products that contain DEHP have warning labels as required by Prop 65.