San Francisco, California - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced changes to regulations implementing Proposition 65, the landmark law requiring businesses to provide warnings if they expose individuals to any listed carcinogens or reproductive toxins.
The proposed amended regulations are the product of nearly five years of analysis and have been drafted in consultation with business and environmental groups. They are intended to protect public health and the environment while helping to stem abuse of the law’s mechanism to allow for enforcement by private parties. The amendments mark the first substantial change to the Attorney General’s Proposition 65 regulations since their adoption in 2001-2003. The 45-day public comment period is open until November 9.
“California has led the nation for decades in protecting our residents and the environment from pollutants and toxic chemicals,” said Attorney General Harris. “These proposed changes maintain the intent of Proposition 65 and our vital legacy of public health and environmental protections while eliminating incentives to abuse the system. Good public policy means rejecting the false choice that suggests we must sacrifice our commitment to the environment and public health for California businesses to thrive.”
In 1986, California voters approved the initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. These regulatory changes will help restore public confidence that Proposition 65 is used for its proper health-protective purposes and not abused for private gain. The proposed amendments focus on increased transparency and accountability to ensure that civil penalties in litigation brought by private enforcers under Proposition 65 are used for purposes that are clearly defined, relevant to the violations which prompted the settlement, and beneficial to Californians.
The proposed regulations would also increase accountability by capping “in lieu of penalties” payments to ensure that the Office of Environment Health Hazard Assessment receives revenues necessary to continue its work of implementing Proposition 65 and protecting public health, as intended by the statute. The proposed changes also raise the bar for demonstrating that settlements requiring reformulation confer a significant public benefit, instead making individual cases fact-specific and stating that payments under a settlement “may” confer public benefit.
For information on submitting public comments, click here.
Attorney General Harris has a long history of taking action to protect the health and well-being of California communities. She has filed lawsuits to enforce Proposition 65 and other environmental laws, protecting local communities from diesel emissions, hazardous electronic waste, and other harmful pollutants. She has also supported the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and led a coalition of states in intervening to defend the EPA from attacks and legal challenges.