What is California Proposition 65?

Proposition 65 is an initiative that addresses California residents’ growing concerns about their exposure to toxic chemicals. It was a voter ballot initiative in 1986 that was approved and became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, or better known by its original ballot name of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list is updated by a technical committee of scientist yearly and includes more than 800 chemicals to date. 

The main tenant of Proposition 65 is that it requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase. This ultimately allows them to make informed decisions about protecting themselves from exposure to these chemicals. Manufacturers of goods whether they be for the home, workplace or even consumption must comply with this proposition. Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water thereby further protecting California residents. 

What does this mean for building products?

To sell your building product in California, the world’s 5th largest economy, you must have a Proposition 65 declaration. The first step is to determine the pathway to exposure for the consumer which in building materials is often air. Then we conduct a specific chamber VOC (volatile organic compounds) test. Once the risk is determined a warning is created. By law, a warning must be given for listed chemicals unless exposure is low enough to pose no significant risk of cancer or is significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Our experienced project managers can walk you through the process. To get started download our FREE checklist that outlines the sample procedures and guidelines.