Inadequate Reforms

Despite the many flaws with Proposition 65, amending the law is purposefully very difficult. In order to change the law’s provisions, a two-thirds of lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature must pass a bill that “furthers the purpose of Proposition 65.” Any more substantial reforms would have to be approved by voters.

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Flawed Attempt to Change Labels

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The current system for warning consumers of the presence of Proposition 65-listed chemicals is clearly flawed.  But the state’s recently approved labelling changes won’t make things any clearer for consumers.

Beginning August 30, 2018, labels are required to contain a pictogram for toxic hazards followed by the word WARNING in bold, capital letters. The new labels also require all products, including food, to list the specific chemicals in the text of the warning and say that the product “can expose you” to the carcinogen or reproductive toxin.

Since the severity of these warnings are the same regardless of how much of a chemical is present, it’s impossible for consumers to know whether there is a legitimate risk or whether exposure levels are too low to cause any harm. In many cases, entering an area or using a particular product does not mean that you will be exposed to a particular chemical even though it may be present in the area or product.

Without relevant and useful information, the labels still remain useless to consumers.