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More Chemicals Added to California Prop 65 List

Effective 27 October, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment added N,N dimethylformamide (a common solvent for chemical reactions), 2 mercaptobenzothiazole (used in the vulcanisation of rubber) and tetrabromobisphenol A (a fire retardant) to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Additionally, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate have been added to the Prop 65 list effective 10 November. PFOA and PFOS are surfactants that have been used in a variety of consumer products, including carpets, textiles, leather, non-stick cookware and paper coatings used in food packaging, to confer stain, grease and water resistance.

Prop 65 does not ban or restrict the use of listed chemicals. Instead, beginning one year after a chemical is added to the Prop 65 list businesses are required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to that chemical unless they can show that the anticipated exposure level will not pose a significant risk of cancer or is significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. This warning can be given in several ways; e.g., labelling a consumer product. No such warning is required if exposure to a chemical occurs at or below any established safe harbour level.

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