OEHHA Considers the Future of Prop 65 Short-Form Warnings

There could be future changes to the use of ‘short-form’ warnings as a way to comply with Prop 65 requirements. According to the delegates at the 6th Annual Regulatory Summit USA, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) may be reviewing if ‘short-form’ warnings can satisfactorily meet Proposition 65 requirements. The delegates added that there is “no guarantee” that “short-form warning” shall continue as a future compliance alternative in many cases.

The recent amendments to California’s Prop 65 Warning Regulations law were one of the topics discussed in the session on US state-level actions. OEHHA had amended the rules on how manufacturers and retailers should provide ‘clear and reasonable’ warning to people if their products use any of the about 900 substances listed under California’s Prop 65.

The new regulations were said to have “caused compliance confusion” among those who are supposed to implement them. The confusion was specifically regarding the requirement to identify the substance for which the warning is posted.

Many companies have been using the ‘short-form’ warning on products labels.  In the “short-form warning, it is not required to include the name of the chemical for which a product warning is provided.

 

According to  OEHHA, the “short-form” warning was intended for small products or, items where there is limited space for the label. However, there is no rule that prohibits its use on the product in bigger containers or packages.

DLA Piper partner George Gigounas informed conference attendees that the flexibility of using the “short-form” warning is being questioned. He said that businesses should be aware that there is no assurance that they can continue using the alternative form of warning because Oehha “appears to be examining the issue.”

OEHHA spokesperson Sam Delson confirmed that the agency is indeed looking into the use of “short-form” warning but they “have not made any decisions.”  Delson added that any regulatory revisions shall be done based on the California Administrative Procedures Act which requires inputs and comments from the public.

 

Mr. Gigounas also told the delegates that should OEHHA have new rules on the use of “short-form” warning, he is confident that the changes would take effect “prospectively, not retroactively.” He added that businesses would be given time to study the new changes before they take effect.

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