California Proposition 65

Proposition 65 requires special warnings for products that contain specific chemicals the State of California considers to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm if those products expose consumers to such chemicals above certain threshold levels. The full list of approximately 800 chemicals can be found at

The general Proposition 65 notice is as follows:

This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

What is California Proposition 65?

Proposition 65 is the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. If a business sells products in the state of California, or their product is brought into the state, the business must comply with Proposition 65. Failure to label products appropriately can result in penalties of $2,500 per day per violation.

What substances are covered by Proposition 65?

Proposition 65 covers a wide assortment of substances - approximately 800 as of 2011 - across variety of categories.

  • Organic substances found in certain plants, nuts, and fruits
  • Chemicals used as herbicides and insecticides
  • Medications, including aspirin, progestrone, and tetracycline
  • Chemicals and solvents used in the production of plastics, paper, pigments and dyes
  • Airborne contaminants like wood dust and crystalline silica (sand) dust
  • Common known health hazards like gasoline fumes and tobacco
  • Metals like lead, nickel, and mercury
  • Highly hazardous substances like mustard gas and various narcotics

Once a substance is designated as a sufficient health concern by the State of California, there is no distinction between substances and their relative level of influence on cancer, birth defects, and reproductive harm.

By law, people must be warned about any chemical on California's list that meets a “No Significant Risk” (cancer) or “No Observable Effect” (birth defects/reproductive harm) level. The ‘No Significant Risk’ threshold is defined as a substance that would cause no more than 1 extra case of cancer in 100,000 people exposed to the chemical over a 70-year lifespan. The ‘No Observable Effect’ threshold is defined as 1/1000th of the level of exposure a substance would no longer pose harm to humans or laboratory animals.

If a product contains a substance meeting either criteria, Proposition 65 prohibits the product from sale to California unless a clear and reasonable warning has been provided to Californians.

We hope that the information below helps with your buying decisions.

Further information can be found at California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Additional questions can be sent to