The danger is probably not as acute as inhaling asbestos fibers or getting lead paint chips in an open wound. Is sanding down a wood craft project and accidentally getting some wood dust up into your nose just as dangerous as working on an old house and coming into contact with lead paint and asbestos tiling?
Does this really help consumers?
For example, you should wear a face mask and safety goggles for protection. They don’t say what the substance is, where it is in the product, how you might be exposed to it, what the level of risk is, or how to reduce your exposure. If you want to read more about some of the specific court cases that have changed the course of Prop 65 over time, Vox has a great piece on its impact. I’ve been curious about this for years — when buying spray paint for furniture projects and gardening tools for the outdoors, for example. The Zojirushi representative explained that the company has the labels for the chemicals used in power cords (bisphenol A), packaging (styrene), and the sticker on the outside of its models (Di-n-Butyl phthalate), but said buyers probably won’t interact much with any of these. Imagine if a warning label accompanied every risk you took on a regular basis, from driving on the freeway to baking gel nail polish under UV light. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) says Prop 65 “requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”. After 78 hours of research and testing since 2013, we think the Zojirushi SM-SC Mug is the best travel mug to keep your drinks hot for hours. The Prop 65 label is like a noisy alarm that rings equally loudly about smaller amounts of low-risk substances and huge amounts of potentially harmful chemicals.
There are more than 800 chemicals presently listed on the California Prop 65 list. The warnings are ubiquitous, rendering them meaningless to consumers. I’m no lawyer. If you see a label and would like to understand more, reach out to the company’s customer service to find out what the chemicals in question are, and look up information about their risks from an organization you trust.
Filing Info For Prop 65 Warning Labels, Masters Degree in Family Therapy at Texas Tech.
The labeling onus is on brands and retailers, and court cases have risen as the list of chemicals grows longer.
See our, growing concern that many chemicals may cause cancer, California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website, 2014 Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) study, When It’s Time to Change Up Your Skincare…, 5 Skincare Tips to Follow when You Travel.
Last time I checked, most people don’t eat a tube of sunscreen daily or snack on mascara! Awareness raised by Prop 65 led Coke to change its use of 4-MEI, a potential carcinogen found in some caramel coloring. Because all companies who sell affected products in California have to apply the Prop 65 label to those items, it’s become cheaper and easier for them to simply slap the warning on all items being sold anywhere. I'm grateful that I have a number of friends who have also been willing to share their very personal stories here -- regarding their own physical and emotional health. But nobody really knows for sure if those chemicals will up my health risks.
sold in California. As e-commerce business continues to grow and inventory travels across state lines, we’ve seen more companies put the labels on everything—even on items that aren’t necessarily bound for California—to avoid being sued. In 1988, when the warning requirements went into effect, the list included 235 chemicals, according to the Los Angeles Times. Failure to comply can leave a company liable for fines of up to $2,500 per violation per day, according to OEHHA. Delson says if you see a product with a warning and then find a comparable product without the warning, you may want to choose the product without the warning. Wirecutter is reader-supported.
Although federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency already set levels for safe consumption of chemicals, Prop 65 goes above and beyond federal standards, sometimes setting different limits than the EPA does. If the Prop 65 warnings are everywhere, then perhaps that opinion is merited by some. Some of the substances listed by OEHHA can affect the reproductive systems of men and women while others are thought to cause cancer. Prop 65, also called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, was enacted in 1986 and meant to inform and protect consumers. A friend of mine recently bought a toaster at Macy’s and a Prop 65 warning was on it. So as you can see…Prop 65 warning labels are now found almost everywhere and on almost everything…in restaurants, beaches, parking garages, auto repair shops, theme parks, coffee shops, art supplies, faucets, gardening products, medical supplies, window treatments, cosmetics, skin care products, and many more. The complete list can be found on the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) website.
These frightening labels all mention something called “Prop 65.” So ... what is that? Here’s what you should know.
It isn’t keeping consumers safe and it’s rather discouraging. Rather than serving as a valid and useful enforcement mechanism, the private right of action has been exploited by "bounty hunters" seeking attorneys’ fees and settlements rather than improving public safety. But people all over the country see these Prop 65 labels because many companies put them on all items that contain these chemicals, even if they’re sold in other states.
As of 2015, the list includes around 900 chemicals, some of which are monitored by the FDA and EPA.
Wondering how many Prop 65 chemicals there are? It’s impractical to totally rid my life of everything that could cause the serious health issues that Prop 65 warns of. A representative of Zojirushi America Corp., which produces several items we recommend (including our favorite travel mug and food thermos), told us that the company labels everything sold in the US and through e-commerce. Personally, I think it's useful when people realize that they're not the only one going through a difficult time. Furniture that does not carry a Proposition 65 warning. From hand gloves to chair cushions and spray cans to hardware tools, a variety of common household products are labeled with warnings stating that item may have substances known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm.
Asbestos, lead, tobacco… Proposition 65 means business.
Some products, such as sprays and cleaners, come with a list of chemicals and other ingredients. Coming from a family with a long line of cancer and as someone with a desire to father healthy children someday, I certainly don’t laugh in the face of health labels — and I respect their intent.
And which ones are on the list? When it comes to cosmetics and skin care products with these so-called chemicals in them, you'd have to eat large quantities of the chemicals in question for them to be harmful or potentially cause cancer. However, in Prop 65’s case, I feel that what was meant to be a health initiative to inform consumers of potential hazards is pretty much useless and is controlled by an industry of trial lawyers claiming to act in the public interest while they use the law to line their own pockets. But not all of them are known to cause cancer by groups and experts outside the state of California. The respondent suggested the Prop 65 warning label was probably listed to help reduce the risk of lawsuits. The OEHHA doesn't offer information to help consumers figure out what the potential risk is and how to avoid it.
While merely touching my luggage may not cause cancer or other serious health problems, it’s important to know that there are some pretty toxic chemicals out there and that they may be part of my everyday life. But we don’t consider Prop 65 regulations, per se.
Of course, you may be in less danger with a clearly labeled item than you would be with unlabeled products, even if the overlabeling phenomenon leads to some false positives.
Manufacturers are not required to provide the OEHHA with any information about the products. Proposition 65 passed in a 1986 California election — winning 63% of voter approval.
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