Manufacturers whose products may make their way into the California marketplace could face expensive trouble if they fail to comply with changes coming in product labeling requirements.
Effective August 30, 2018, specific warnings must be on every label regarding certain toxic chemicals as outlined in the revisions to Proposition 65. Generic warnings will no longer be acceptable. Manufacturers that do not comply may be subject to substantial penalties.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- What is California Proposition 65? In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals.
- How does it apply to out-of-state product manufacturers? It requires any business operating in, or whose products are sold in California, regardless of where they’re manufactured, to notify Californians with a “clear and reasonable” warning about the presence of certain, listed chemicals in their products.
- What is changing? What constitutes a “clear and reasonable” warning is changing as of August 30, 2018, from a currently acceptable “generic” warning to a required, more specific warning.
- Why is this especially important to out-of-state product manufacturers? Proposition 65 includes a provision that allows any individual acting in the “public interest” to sue manufacturers, distributors and others for warnings that do not meet the new requirements. Professional claimants now spend their time reviewing labels to file lawsuits against manufacturers, so that they can reap a 25 percent payout from any penalties or settlements reached. Penalties can be quite substantial. When the new rules go into effect, these claimants likely will ramp up filings against businesses with products that fail to meet the new requirements. Don’t be surprised if out-of-state manufacturers that may not be aware of these changes become the prime targets of these lawsuits.
Manufacturers and distributors selling products in California should check the website of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment for more information about this law and should discuss with legal counsel whether the changes to this law could affect your business.
Neither The Cincinnati Insurance Company nor its affiliates or representatives offer legal advice. Consult with your attorney about your specific situation.