January 06, 2015 Articles

Proposed Changes to Proposition 65 Provide Limited Benefit to Business

By Elizabeth McNulty

Recent proposed changes to California's Proposition 65 require more stringent exposure warnings that will likely increase the burden on business and set in motion a new onslaught of litigation against consumer product manufacturers and those selling into the state of California.

California's Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, is a law passed by a ballot initiative in November 1986. Proposition 65 was intended to protect California citizens and the state's drinking water sources from chemicals believed to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and was envisioned by its drafters as a mechanism to provide warnings to citizens about potential exposures to listed chemicals. Unfortunately, the execution of Proposition 65 has proven to be more of a "private attorney general wealth insurance act" than a citizens' protection act. Recent proposed changes do nothing to improve the landscape for businesses selling consumer products into the state of California.

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