In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original 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, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 1000+ chemicals since it was first published in 1987.
Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water.
Secondly, businesses are required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical, even in trace amounts. This warning can be given by a variety of means, such as by labeling a consumer product, posting signs at the workplace, distributing notices at a rental housing complex, or publishing notices in a newspaper. Once a chemical is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with warning requirements. Elkay has chosen to label all of its products in North America using language required by the State of California as follows:
The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) administers the Proposition 65 program and maintains a web site at www.P65Warnings.ca.gov. This site provides information on the law, commonly asked questions and the list of all the chemicals.