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California’s Proposition 65 List of Chemicals Continues to Grow

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment recently added chlorpyrifos and n-hexane (effective 15 December 2017) and vinylidene chloride (1,1-dichloroethylene) (effective 29 December 2017) to the list of hazardous chemicals for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). According to California authorities, chlorpyrifos and n-hexane were clearly shown through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause reproductive toxicity, while vinylidene chloride is being listed as a substance known to cause cancer.

Prop 65 does not ban or restrict the use of listed chemicals. Instead, beginning one year after a chemical is added to the Prop 65 list businesses are required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to that chemical unless they can show that the anticipated exposure level will not pose a significant risk of cancer or is significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. This warning can be given in several ways; e.g., labelling a consumer product. No such warning is required if exposure to a chemical occurs at or below any established safe harbour level.

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