ISSA Opposes California Prop 65 Proposed Limitations on Short-Form Warning

Categories: ISSA, Regulatory

By Bill Balek | April 8, 2021 << Back to Articles

In formal comments filed with the State of California, ISSA strongly opposed a proposed rule that would significantly limit the “short-form” warning that has become popular in the cleaning industry since it became law just a few short years ago.

ISSA’s opposition was premised on the substantial and unreasonable adverse economic impact the proposed rule is expected to have on the hundreds of ISSA members who adopted the short-form warning after it became effective in 2018. These companies invested substantial resources in changing their labels to incorporate the short-form warning in good faith reliance on the rulemaking that adopted the short-form warning. The rule proposed by California, however, would require virtually all companies that use the short-form warning, to once again change their labels at great expense.

Moreover, the proposed rule would impose additional stress on the cleaning industry supply chain at a time during which it is already facing unprecedented challenges in its efforts to supply cleaning products and services to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the proposed rule would place a tremendous economic burden on the cleaning industry, California has failed to demonstrate that it provides any health and safety benefit to those who procure and use products regulated under Prop 65.

ISSA therefore urged California to withdraw the proposed rule because it would create an unreasonable adverse economic impact and yet fail to achieve any measurable public health benefit.

Proposed Rule. In brief, the proposed rule would:

  • Restrict short-form warnings to products with 5 square inches or less of label space (and the package shape or size cannot accommodate the full-length warning). The provision retains the requirement that the short-form warning type size be no smaller than “the largest type size used for other consumer information on the product,” and no smaller than 6-point type.
  • Eliminate use of the short-form warning in catalogues and on websites (which has been allowed for products that utilize a short-form warning on-product).
  • Require the short-form warning to identify at least one chemical for which the warning is being provided.

Currently, short-form warnings look like:

WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm –

If finalized, the new short-form warnings would be somewhat wordier and provide more information:

WARNING: Risk of Cancer and Reproductive Harm From [Name of one or more chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity] Exposure –

Industry Opposition. The proposed rule, which would eliminate the Prop 65 short-form warning was also opposed by hundreds of state and national industry groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, and the Household and Commercial Products Association, along with numerous individual companies located or doing business in the State of California.

While California has portrayed the proposed rule as merely clarifying in nature, the massive opposition posed by industry strongly suggests the rule has a much deeper and significant impact than that alleged by the State.

California will now review the many comments it received, both in opposition and support of the proposed rule. The State is expected to respond to the comments received within 60 days of the closing of the comment period on March 29.

About the Author.

ISSA Director of Legislative Affairs Bill Balek has more than 25 years of experience working with various legislative and regulatory organizations that create rules that have a direct impact on the cleaning products industry, including antimicrobial pesticide registration, hazardous material transportation, safety and health regulations, and general environmental laws.