What does California Proposition 65 mean for your ecommerce and retail channel sales?

What does California Proposition 65 mean for your ecommerce and retail channel sales?

Proposition 65 warning label

Author: Stephanie Cifuentes, Manager – Order Admin, Rush Order

What you need to know:

Proposition 65 comes up frequently in conversation with our clients, many of whom are more concerned than ever by maintaining compliance with the law.  These concerns are well founded, as fines for non-compliance can be as high as $2,500 USD per day.

Below is a list of common questions and points of discussion that we hope you will find helpful in the course of selling and shipping products in California.

  • What is Proposition 65?  Proposition 65 is a California law that requires a warning on products that contain chemicals known by the state to cause cancer or reproduction toxicity.
  • What products does Proposition 65 apply to?  Proposition 65 warning labels apply to all consumer products sold in California.
  • Warning labels will only need to be affixed to products sold in California, not to other states.  The specific warning text on these labels can appear to be quite dire, which means you would ideally not place Proposition 65 warning labels on shipments to states other than California.  Please contact your Rush Order Project Manager to discuss how you can limit these warnings to California destined shipments only.
  • Businesses are exempt from the prop 65 requirements if the exposure levels are so low there is no significant risk of cancer or reproduction harm.
  • If your product contains any of the chemicals listed by the California OEHHA (Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment) according to prop 65, you can locate the safe harbor level numbers to determine if your product will need the warning label or if the exposure is so low, a label is not required.
  • If OEHHA has not established a safe harbor level for the chemical your product contains, a warning label is required.  This is true unless you can show proof the chemical exposure does not cause harm.
  • Based on the type of chemical your product contains, you will need a specific warning message on the label.
  • To retrieve a list of chemicals that require prop 65 warning labels, please visit : https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65
  • You can locate the safe harbor numbers at https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/general-info/current-proposition-65-no-significant-risk-levels-nsrls-maximum
  • Examples of warnings based on product exposure can be found https://www.p65warnings.ca.gov/sample-warnings-and-translations-businesses
  • Failure to provide warnings on product can be as high as $2,500 per violation per day.
  • If you have more questions regarding Proposition 65 warning labels, you can contact OEHHA by email at questions@oehha.ca.gov or by phone at 916-445-6900.

Proposition 65 warning labels & retailers:

  • Most large retailers / resellers have specific requirements for proposition 65 warning labels. If you are shipping product to major retailers, you may be required to label ALL your products, even when not shipping to a location in California. This is because a product shipped to a distribution center outside of California could still end up on a store shelf in California.  Cross-state returns happen as well.
  • Some retailers will have you enter prop 65 related information in their web portals and will have deadlines as to when this must be completed.
  • For Example:
    • Target requires this information entered in their portal (Partnersonline.com) under the products specific tab in PIM.
    • Target requests that you select the proposition 65 flag in the portal if your product requires a warning label. Target also requires you to provide the exact warning text that appears on your product.
    • If you, as a vendor, fail to enter this information in the portal, Target will not publish the product on target.com and presumably not carry the product in stores. The deadline for existing vendors to enter this information was August 30th, 2018.

For further information or questions on this topic, Rush Order clients should contact their individual Project Manager.  All others are welcome to contact us.