An overhaul of the “clear and reasonable” warning regulations for Proposition 65 go into effect on August 30, 2018 for all products manufactured on or after that date. To comply with the new requirements, retailers will need to ensure that product warnings adhere to a format that includes tailored language identifying at least one chemical from the official Proposition 65 list that triggered the warning. The new warning regulations will impact many businesses that were previously able to use generic warning labels on products to avoid costly testing and to fend off Proposition 65 plaintiffs.

Changes in Warning Content

The new warnings will need to include four elements:

  • A triangular yellow and black warning symbol, which may be printed in black and white as long as it is not printed against a yellow background
  • The word “WARNING” in bold all capital letters
  • New tailored warning language that changes depending on whether the chemical is listed for cancer or for reproductive toxicity, or both
  • The address for the California Proposition 65 website

Sample Warnings Under the New Regulations

Chemical listed for Cancer Only

 WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

Chemical listed for Reproductive Toxicity Only

 WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

Single Chemical Listed for Both Cancer and Reproductive Toxicity

WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

One Chemical Listed for Reproductive Toxicity Only and One Chemical Listed for Cancer Only

 WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of chemical], which is known to the State of California to cause cancer, and [name of chemical], which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.

The new regulations permit companies to provide on-product warnings using the warning language above, or through the following shorter alternative warnings that do not include chemical names:

 WARNING: Cancer - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

 WARNING: Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

 WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

 Warnings Must Be Prominently Displayed

Retailers must also ensure that warnings are “prominently displayed,” meaning the warning must be as visible as other material on the label, no smaller than the largest type size used for product information, and under no circumstances smaller than 6-point type size. For Internet purchases, the disclosure can be provided by including either the same warning on the product or a clearly marked hyperlink using the word “WARNING,” or by prominently displaying the warning to the consumer prior to purchase.