This month, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced revisions to previously announced updates to Proposition 65’s short-form warning labels. The agency has concerns over how informative the short-form warnings are and in December and January proposed new regulations that would reign in their usage. Following pushback from trade organizations and companies, including PPAI, OEHHA latest announcement has softened what the previous proposal would have required.
Background:Under California’s Prop 65, businesses must provide consumers clear, concise warnings regarding significant exposure to chemicals in products that cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Prop 65 also mandates that the state publish a list of chemicals that have been found to cause such issues. In 2016, OEHHA updated the warning requirements under the legislation that allowed businesses, under certain circumstances, to use a short-form warning. This change was implemented, in part, due to businesses’ concerns that the long-form warning would not fit on smaller products.
OEHHA, however, has harbored concerns regarding the short-form warning. At a Prop 65 conference in 2018, OEHHA General Counsel Carol J. Monahan Cummings expressed concern over the form’s popularity, as the agency’s perception is that companies are over-using the short-form warning, thereby not providing the information to consumers that the Prop 65 regulation mandates.
Amendment Progression:In December, OEHHA proposed amendments to the short-form warning requirements that would:
Mandate the forms identify at least one listed chemical in the item.
Limit short-form usage to products where the total surface area available for the label is 12 square inches or less.
Limit short-form usage to only when the package size or shape cannot accommodate the full-length label.
Require that the warning be printed in a font no smaller than the largest type size used for other consumer information included on the product.
That font size be no smaller than 6-point type.
This month, OEHHA proposed an update that softened or removed some of the new strictures it had put in place on short-form usage following business and stakeholder comments. The requirement revisions would:
Remove label size and package shape limitations governing short-form usage.
Remove requirement that the font size of the warning match the largest type size used in other consumer information on the product.
Expand implementation of the short-form warning amendments from one year to two years after their effective date.
At Present: The ongoing revisions to the short-form label maintain the new requirement that they include at least one listed chemical. OEHHA is accepting public comments on this latest round of revisions. Any written comments to the proposed amendments must be received no later than April 20. Electronic comments can be submitted through OEHHA’s website.
Used with permission from PPAI Media