California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) is constantly evolving. The California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) maintains an ever-growing list of substances that can negatively impact human health and the environment. Two recent changes affect the chemicals that will be on that list as well as how businesses must label products containing those substances. Here is an overview of these changes and how they’ll affect you.
New Substances on the Proposition 65 List
Toward the end of 2021 and at the beginning of 2022, the OEHHA added new substances to the Proposition 65 list:
- Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), its salts, and its degradation and transformation precursors
- Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), its salts, and its degradation and transformation precursors
- Tetrahydrofuran (TFH)
- 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2EHA)
- Methyl acrylate (MA)
- Technical-grade trimethylolpropane triacrylate (TMPTA)
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
PFOS and PFOA were already on the Proposition 65 list for developmental toxicity, but further research has led to their inclusion on California’s list of carcinogens. PFNA and the other chemicals are entirely new additions to the list.
Growing Concern about PFAS
PFOS, PFOA, and PFNA are all members of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) family. PFAS are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. The PFAS family is enormous, with thousands of varieties of these chemicals.
These products tend to use PFAS:
- Grease-resistant paper
- Fast food wrappers and containers
- Microwave popcorn bags
- Nonstick cookware
- Cleaning products
- Dental floss
- Paints, varnishes, and sealants
PFAS tend to break down slowly over time, and they can accumulate in people, animals, and the environment. Scientists have seen adverse health outcomes in humans as a result of PFAS exposure. Here are a few examples of where scientists have detected PFAS:
- Drinking water
- Soil and water at or near waste sites
- Fire extinguishing foam
- Fish caught in PFAS-contaminated water
- Dairy products from livestock exposed to PFAS
California isn’t the only jurisdiction concerned about PFAS usage. Over the past several years, there’s been more research on PFAS and restrictions on its use. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has added members of the PFAS family to its list of restricted substances, while the U.S. EPA is considering a rule that would require reporting and recordkeeping for all PFAS in items that were manufactured or imported into the U.S. since 2011.
At the beginning of 2021, the OEHHA proposed the modification of its short-form warning rule. Following the public comment period on this proposal, the agency put forward the following changes to the rule:
- A constraint on the use of the short-form label — it can only be used if the package shape or size cannot accommodate the full-length warning
- The addition of more sign options — companies can now use “CA Warning” and “California Warning”
- Updating the short-form warning for exposure to carcinogens and reproductive toxicants to clearly state which chemicals/substances/reproductive toxicants the product contains and the harm it poses
- Removing the use of the term “product label” to reduce confusion
Maintaining Compliance With an Ever-Evolving Regulation
As the OEHHA adds more substances to the Proposition 65 list, and as labeling regulations change, manufacturers find themselves at risk of non-compliance. The Assent Supply Chain Sustainability Platform automatically flags the presence of declared substances in a product by cross-referencing them against a database that’s constantly updated. With Assent’s solution, manufacturers gain deeper insights into their supply chain for reduced risk and streamlined compliance. To learn more, contact us at email@example.com.