Understanding Proposition 65 in California

Proposition 65

What Is Proposition 65 in California?

Living in California, you might come across products with warnings labeled "WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm." This is a result of Proposition 65, a law enacted in 1986 by Californian voters.

Prop 65 requires businesses to provide consumers with warnings about substantial exposure to chemicals that have been identified as potential causes of cancer, birth defects, or reproductive damage. This law is applicable to products purchased by Californians, used in their residences or workplaces, or those discharged into the environment.

It also requires the state to maintain a list, updated yearly, of these harmful chemicals. This right-to-know law empowers Californians to make informed decisions about the products they encounter.

Proposition 65 Enforcement

Proposition 65 enforcement is a multi-layered system. The California Attorney General's Office holds primary responsibility, but district attorneys and city attorneys in large municipalities (over 750,000 population) can also pursue violations.

It is also important to note that California empowers private citizens to act as enforcers by filing lawsuits against suspected violators, following a specific notification process. If a person pursues a case, they will receive a percentage of the civil penalties as well as reimbursement for their attorneys’ fees.

What Are the Penalties for Violating Proposition 65?

Violating Proposition 65 can be costly. The law allows for civil penalties of up to $2,500 per day for each violation. This means a single product with a missing warning could result in a significant penalty if the violation goes unaddressed. Courts consider several factors when determining the final penalty amount, including:

  • the severity and number of violations,
  • the violator's intent, and
  • efforts to comply.

The court can also impose injunctions, such as product reformulation that corrects the violation and removes the dangerous chemicals. In some cases, the violating party will also be asked to pay the other party’s attorney and investigative fees.

Helping with Lawsuits Against Companies That Violate Proposition 65

At Manning Law, APC, our attorneys represent private citizens and advocacy groups pursuing claims against companies in violation of Proposition 65. We have handled countless Proposition 65 cases, helping our clients stay safe from exposure to harmful products and companies that violate The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

We have successfully represented a number of clients in such lawsuits. For instance, we helped obtain a settlement on behalf of the non-profit corporation CalSafe Research Center, Inc., as they acted in the public interest against Navitas, LLC. In addition to having the experience you need and an impressive track record, our team can be trusted with your case because:

  • We are committed to helping Californians have accurate information concerning their risk of exposure to harmful substances.
  • We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we aren’t compensated unless we help you win your case.
  • We have over a century of collective legal experience.

Request a free case consultation by calling (800) 783-5006.