Proposition 65 increasingly impacts California’s business community. It is a law that nurtures environmental extremism under the guise of health protection. Bounty hunters are especially prone to feed off of businesses, large and small, in pursuit of unwarranted financial settlements. Too often California is a cooperator in these attacks on business. KSC works to balance the playing field and limit if not prevent the ongoing abuse associated with Proposition 65.
Proposition 65 (the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) is a California voter approved law that requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals (about 900 and counting) that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water.
By law, a warning 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.
The list contains a wide range of chemicals including additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents, as well as naturally occurring elements. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) administers the Proposition 65 program. OEHHA, part of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), determines whether chemicals meet the scientific and legal requirements for placement on the Proposition 65 list, and administers regulations that govern warnings and other aspects of Proposition 65.
The California Attorney General’s Office enforces Proposition 65. Any district attorney or city attorney (for cities whose population exceeds 750,000) may also enforce Proposition 65. In addition, a private enforcer acting in the public interest may enforce Proposition 65 by filing a lawsuit against a business alleged to be in violation of this law.
KSC works all facets of Proposition 65 from regulatory efforts to ensure fairness for our clients with OEHHA’s actions, negotiating with the attorney general on various issues to litigation with private entities.