Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide a warning when they expose people in California to chemicals listed as carcinogens or reproductive toxicants. If a business has 10 or more employees and is causing a significant exposure to one or more listed chemicals, then a warning is required.

Article 1, Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations, definitions section 25102 says: “(i) ‘Expose’ means to cause to ingest, inhale, contact via body surfaces or otherwise come into contact with a listed chemical. An individual may come into contact with a listed chemical through water, air, food, consumer products and any other environmental exposure as well as occupational exposures.”

The type of product or exposure source does not change the responsibility to provide a warning. However, if no significant exposure is occurring to a listed chemical, no warning is required. In other words, the mere presence of a chemical in a product or place does not automatically require a warning to be provided.

Many of the chemicals on the list have safe harbor levels, which are levels that do not cause significant risk as defined by the law and regulations and therefore do not require a warning. If there is no safe harbor level for a chemical, businesses that expose individuals to that chemical are required to provide a Proposition 65 warning, unless the business can show that exposure levels will not pose a significant risk of cancer or reproductive harm. OEHHA has adopted regulations that provide guidance for calculating a no significant risk level in the absence of a safe harbor level. Regulations are available in Article 7 and Article 8 of Title 27, California Code of Regulations.

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