The California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment (OEHHA) will hold a workshop on April 14 to discuss possible regulatory action to change the existing Proposition 65 program. While the ostensible purpose and goals of the pre-regulatory draft language are to make Prop 65 warnings more informative and meaningful, create more certainty for business and reduce litigation, the draft language appears to do exactly the opposite. The content of warnings could get very complicated and the duties of product manufacturers and sellers far more onerous, the worst of all, a possibly playground of opportunity for mischief by enterprising bounty hunting plaintiff’s attorneys. 

The proposed language would establish 3 to 5 minimum requirements for warnings. They are: 

  • Use of the signal word “WARNING”; 
  • Use of the word “expose” to be consistent with the language in the statute; 
  • The Global Harmonized System standard pictogram for toxic hazards (only for consumer products other than foods, occupational and environmental warnings); 
  • Disclosure of the names of up to 12 commonly-known chemicals that require warnings, such as lead and mercury, in the text of the warning; and 
  • A link to a new OEHHA website to allow the public to access more information relating to the warning, including additional chemicals, routes of exposure, and if applicable, any actions that individuals could take to reduce or avoid the exposure. 

Following the workshop on April 14, OEHHA hopes to propose formal regulation in early summer of 2014 with the hopes of adopting final regulation in early summer 2015.