Have you seen the following text on home appliances you’ve recently bought?
“WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
Before you panic and return your product, it is important to understand what this label means.
Placed upon appliances to disclose the presence of any of nearly 800 chemicals used in manufacturing, this label is mandated by a law passed in the state of California (California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), more generally referred to as "Proposition 65."
Simply put, the warning means that the manufacturer believes that the product may contain any of the 800-plus chemicals that the state of California considers harmful. It does not mean that products thus labeled are necessarily harmful, or built in violation of any safety standard. Many of the chemicals that are included under the warning have been routinely used in manyeveryday items, such as drugs, dyes, food, additives, solvents, pesticides, etc. for years, all without documented harm.
Though the law only applies to the State of California, it can prove very costly, if not impossible, for manufacturers to ascertain where a unit may be shipped. Since most brands ship nationally, and the penalties for non-compliance to Proposition 65 are high, they label all products that qualify for the warning. There is no penalty for providing an unnecessary warning.
For more information visit: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/general-info/current-proposition-65-no-significant-risk-levels-nsrls-maximum and https://www.p65warnings.ca.gov/.
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