Prop 65 & CARB Info
Additional Information for California Residents:
Q: Why does my product from Michael Enterprises have warning labels?
A: We hope the information below helps answer any questions you may have. There are many state and federal laws that apply to the content, design and labeling of consumer products. The State of California has some very specific rules that go beyond the requirements of other states, so we label all of our products to be compliant with California law.
Q: What does the label about formaldehyde and California 93120 mean?
A: Some of our products contain composite wood materials, and a California law requires that all composite wood materials comply with certain requirements and provide this label to verify that the product meets the State of California’s requirements for reducing formaldehyde in composite wood products. For more information regarding California 93120 see the California Air Resources Board website at http://www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/compwood/consumer_faq.pdf.
Q: What is California Proposition 65?
A: In 1986, California voters approved a law called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, generally known as Proposition 65. The law was adopted through a voter initiative process that lets anyone propose legislation to California voters; the Proposition 65 law was written by a group of lawyers and others who stated they were concerned about exposures to toxics and they wanted to do something about it. The stated purpose of Proposition 65 is to make people informed about exposure to certain types of chemicals.
Q: What are the requirements of Proposition 65?
A: Proposition 65 does not prohibit the use of any chemicals or mandate how any chemicals are used. Proposition 65 requires that the California state government maintain and publish a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm based upon information gathered by a state agency. The list, which must be updated annually, includes a wide variety of chemicals that can be found in consumer products, buildings, food, drugs and other materials.
A company with ten or more employees that operates within the State of California or sells products in California must comply with the requirements of Proposition 65. To comply, businesses are: (1) prohibited from knowingly discharging listed chemicals into sources of drinking water; and (2) required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical.
Q: If a product has a label that says “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or birth defects or other reproductive harm,” how can I trust that the product is safe?
A: If a Proposition 65 warning is posted, it means that the business issuing the warning knows that one or more listed chemicals is merely present in its product. Proposition 65 does not determine whether or not an exposure is safe, but law, a Proposition 65 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.
With respect to suspected carcinogens, the “no significant risk” level is defined as the level of exposure that would result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed to the chemical over a 70-year lifetime. In other words, a person exposed to the chemical at the “no significant risk level” for 70 years would not have more than a “one in 100,000” chance of developing cancer as a result of that exposure.
For chemicals that are listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm, the “no observable effect level” is determined by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to not pose any harm to humans or laboratory animals. Proposition 65 then requires this “no observable effect level” to be divided by 1,000 in order to provide an ample margin of safety. Businesses subject to Proposition 65 are required to provide a warning if they cause exposures to chemicals listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm that exceed 1/1000th of the “no observable effect level.”
The presence or absence of a Proposition 65 warning does not necessarily mean that a product is safe or unsafe. The government has explained, “You could think of Proposition 65 more as a ‘right to know’ law than a pure product safety law.”
For more information, see the State of California’s official Proposition 65 website http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/background/p65plain.html.
Q: Are all businesses and products subject to Proposition 65?
A: There are a number of exemptions to Proposition 65, but in general Proposition 65 applies only to products sold in California, and it applies only to private businesses with ten or more employees who are doing business in California. Proposition 65 does not apply to federal, state or local government agencies.
Q: Why has Michael Enterprises placed a Proposition 65 warning on its products?
A: A Proposition 65 warning means one of two things: (1) the business has conducted scientific testing to evaluate the risk of exposure to the 800+ chemicals on the Proposition 65 list and has concluded that none of the possible exposures exceeds the “no significant risk level”; or (2) the business has chosen to provide a warning simply based on its knowledge about the potential presence of a listed chemical without attempting to evaluate the exposure. We have elected to provide a warning based on our knowledge about the potential presence of one or more listed chemicals without attempting to evaluate the level of exposure. With Michael Enterprises’ products, the exposure may be negligible or well below the “no significant risk” range. We select our suppliers and raw materials carefully in an effort to minimize exposures to hazardous substances,, but out of an abundance of caution, Michael Enterprises has elected to place the Proposition 65 warning labels on its products. As a matter of practicality it would be difficult to test for all 800+ chemicals, and retest at every interval that new ones are added to the state regulation.