California's Proposition 65
Hahn Loeser attorneys defend businesses sued or threatened to be sued for alleged violations of Proposition 65, also known as California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Our attorneys also assist businesses in complying with Proposition 65 so they can avoid such lawsuits.
What Is Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 is a California law that requires warnings be provided before persons are exposed to chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Currently, California has identified over 900 chemicals that fall under Proposition 65. Exposure to these chemicals may occur in a variety of contexts, including product sales, food and beverage consumption, environmental exposure, and occupational exposure. This means that virtually every company that manufactures, distributes, or sells goods, food or beverages that reach California (including internet sales), along with every company that employs or hosts individuals in its California place of business, must be cognizant of Proposition 65 and how it relates to their business operations.
If exposure to a listed chemical arises, businesses must reformulate their product or provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before exposing anyone to the listed chemical. The wording and transmission method of the warning will vary depending on the product and sales method and companies with questions about the language and transmission of the warning should contact experienced counsel.
Penalties for violation can be up to $2,500 per violation along with attorneys’ fees. The California Attorney General’s Office, district attorneys, or certain city attorneys may enforce Proposition 65. If none of these governmental entities take action, private individuals may enforce Proposition 65. These private individuals send a 60-Day Notice informing the business of the alleged violation and that a lawsuit will be filed within 60 days if the violation is not otherwise addressed. Businesses that receive this notice should contact an experienced attorney.
Hahn Loeser’s Services and Experience
Our attorneys provide compliance advice to help businesses decrease the risk of any alleged violations of Proposition 65. We understand that each client has unique products, distribution methods, and other hurdles arising from Proposition 65 and tailor our compliance counseling to fit each client’s situation. Our attorneys also assist businesses that have received a 60-Day Notice in resolving the alleged violation. We have represented retailers, distributors and manufacturers in nearly every industry—including apparel, hardware/tools, toys, food and beverage, and household goods. If you are concerned that your business is or will become subject to Proposition 65 or need assistance in responding to an alleged violation, we encourage you to contact us.