What is California’s Proposition 65?

California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, now universally known as Proposition 65, is a law that applies only in the State of California. Proposition 65 mandates the publication of a list of chemicals that the State of California determines causes cancer or birth defects, and requires companies that sell products that contain those chemicals to inform California residents about the risk of exposure to such chemicals by including a warning notice on the product label.

Since 1986, the two Proposition 65 lists have expanded to include more than 800 chemicals. Even if a chemical has not been shown to cause cancer or birth defects in humans, but has been shown to do so in animal testing, the chemical is still required to be placed on the applicable Proposition 65 list.

Proposition 65 warning notices can be seen throughout California, in various settings such as restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, bars, schools, hospitals, and theme parks.