California Proposition 65 regulates chemicals and heavy metals in consumer products sold in the state of California. More specifically, California Proposition 65 applies to consumer products, such as apparel and textiles, jewelry, accessories, and home products.
In this guide, we list some of the products and materials covered by California Proposition 65 and highlight associated substance risks.
Product List Creation Methodology
In this guide, we only list products that are mentioned on www.p65warnings.ca.gov. The website either mentions:
a. Specific product categories (e.g. “motor vehicle parts”), or
b. Specific substances (e.g. lead and lead compounds) and, for each substance, examples of products that might contain it (e.g. ceramic dishes)
What is California Proposition 65?
California’s Proposition 65 is known officially as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 and is administered by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).
The proposition requires businesses selling in California to either:
a. Ensure that their products do not contain substances in an amount greater than the limit set up by the proposition
b. Provide the state’s residents with product warning labels that explain how they could be exposed to chemicals that could cause birth defects, cancer, or other types of reproductive harm, by using the products
At the moment, the list of restricted substances under California Proposition 65 contains around 1,000 items. The OEHHA updates this list at least once a year.
Food Contact Materials
The OEHHA provides substances that may be present in food contact materials. Here we list a few of those substances, which could potentially cause harm to consumers:
Below we list several food contact materials that may contain lead and lead compounds:
- Ceramic dishes
- Brass faucets and fittings
California Proposition 65’s website lists several consumer food contact materials that may contain phthalates:
- Plastic lunchboxes
- Plastic food packaging materials
BPA may be found in several consumer food contact materials, such as:
- Jar lids
- Baby bottles
- Sippy cups
Apparel and Textiles
Some chemical substances restricted under California Proposition 65 (e.g. flame retardants or formaldehyde) are likely to be found in apparel and textile products. Flame retardants (e.g. PFOA) are often used in textile products to lessen the chances of them catching fire.
Formaldehyde is also a dangerous substance that may be found in these products. It is a gas that may be released into the air from various sources, such as permanent press fabrics.
These substances are often used during the manufacturing of textiles and their accessories.
Products that might contain flame retardants, formaldehyde, or other restricted substances might include
- Outdoor gear
- Camping tents
Jewelry and Accessories
California Proposition 65 regulates the amount of heavy metals and other substances contained in jewelry. One of the most notable chemicals that are used during the manufacturing process of jewelry is cadmium, which is often added to jewelry to impart specific technical and functional attributes to the metals.
Other than cadmium, the following toxic heavy metals are often found in the making of jewelry, which is restricted by California Proposition 65:
Cadmium is often used in jewelry to provide a shiny aspect to the coating and weight to products such as:
- Metal jewelry
- Charms on children’s jewelry
Lead is a substance used in many jewelry products to increase their weight and brightness, or soften plastic parts. This includes:
- Imitation leather (which may include leather jewelry)
- Costume jewelry
California’s Proposition 65 website does not explicitly list watches, according to our knowledge. However, it is important to note that Proposition 65 does cover many materials and substances such as lead and phthalates that may be used to manufacture watches components such as the watch case or strap.
Here are some examples of products that contain materials that might include substances restricted by California Proposition 65:
- Watches with leather straps
- Watches with plastic straps
Toxic chemicals such as flame retardant chemicals, phthalates, and hydrogen cyanide could sometimes be found in the coatings of plastic toys. Such substances are restricted by California Proposition 65 in the use of consumer products, including toys.
Other than toys that are made of plastic, toys that contain materials such as plush, fabric, wood, or ceramic, could contain restricted toxic substances under the regulation of California Proposition 65.
Toys that may contain the abovementioned chemicals and substances include items such as the following:
- Teddy bears
- Wooden toy cars
- Pretend tea sets
- Rubber ducks
Newly-purchased furniture generally gives out odors that contain harmful chemical substances such as formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and other volatile organic gas. Fluoride and fire retardants are also very commonly detected in various kinds of sofas, which can cause health issues such as liver cancer, kidney cancer, and reproductive and developmental issues to the users.
Furniture products may contain chemicals regulated by California Proposition 65. Examples of furniture materials that could contain some of the above chemicals include:
- Vinyl textiles on cushions and upholstery
Formaldehyde can be found in resins used to make adhesives for composite wood products for furniture. This includes:
Toxic chemical substances and heavy metals that can be found within electronic products (or their casing) include lead, PBDE, antimony, and PVC. California Proposition 65 restricts the usage of all the above-mentioned chemical substances.
PBDE is a flame retardant that may be found in the plastics used with electronic and electrical devices, such as the following:
- Personal computers
- Household appliances
Cadmium and its compounds can be found in many electrical products, such as rechargeable nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries. Products that use NiCad batteries include items such as the following:
- Cell phones
- Electric cars
E-cigarettes discharge a vapor that typically contains nicotine. California’s Proposition 65 covers nicotine because it may cause birth defects or some form of reproductive harm. Some e-cigarettes also emit other substances such as lead and cadmium, which are also covered by the proposition.
Additionally, e-cigarettes are electronic devices as they use batteries to either:
a. Heat an e-liquid (a liquid solution inside the device), or
b. Heat solid substances (e.g., nicotine salts)
The components of the e-cigarettes may also contain chemicals and substances restricted by California Proposition 65, such as phthalates.
Examples of e-cigarettes include items such as the following:
- Vape pens
Beauty & Care Products
In recent years, reports against cosmetic products on exceeding amounts of toxins have been heard more often. Non-compliant cosmetics often contain heavy metal substances such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, or mercury.
These toxins can cause harm to the skin, brain, and nervous system and even cancer, and, as such, they are under the purview of California Proposition 65.
Lead can be found in cosmetics, such as the following:
- Hair dyes
Mercury may be used in beauty products such as the following:
- Skin-lightening creams
- Anti-aging skin creams
- Acne treatment skin creams
- Nail polishes
Many types of medical equipment comprise different chemicals and substances, many of which may be restricted by California Proposition 65.
For example, mercury can be found in dental amalgam fillings, which is a material used during a medical dental procedure, Mercury exposure can result in childhood behavioral problems. California Proposition 65 also restricts the use of six types of phthalates in medical devices because they can cause reproductive harm. The six phthalates are as follows:
Here we list some examples of medical equipment that may contain chemicals or substances covered by California’s Proposition 65:
- Surgical gloves
- Oxygen masks
- Feeding tubes
- Tubing for dialysis
- Some types of blood and IV bags
California Proposition 65 restricts many substances and chemicals such as chlorinated tris and other flame retardants, which might be contained in gym equipment components such as textiles, plastics, and polyurethane foam.
Flame retardants such as chlorinated tris, TBBPA, and TCEP and other restricted substances may be found in items such as:
- Gym equipment that contains foam
- Gym equipment plastic components
Motor Vehicle Parts
Components of, and used in, motor vehicles may have substances and chemicals that are restricted by California Proposition 65, such as automobile upholstery.
For example, motor vehicle parts may contain chemicals and substances such as DEHP, lead and lead compounds, and phthalates.
Certain chemicals and substances, for example, lead, phthalates, and asbestos may be found in motor vehicle parts such as the following:
- Lead-acid batteries
- Floor mats
- Seat covers
- Brake pads
Building materials may often contain chemicals and substances such as formaldehyde, styrene, and flame retardants, among other chemicals. It is mandatory for importers and manufacturers of building materials in California to conform to the requirements of California Proposition 65.
Building materials that may contain various chemicals and substances include items such as:
- Building insulation
- Plumbing pipes
- Insulated panels
- Rubber flooring
- Foam and fiberglass insulation
A wide range of food products contains chemicals and substances that are regulated by California Proposition 65. For instance, food may contain substances such as the following:
- Inorganic Arsenic
Collectively, the chemicals and substances listed above may cause cancer, reproductive harm, birth defects, brain development issues, and behavior problems.
Food and food products that may contain various chemicals and substances restricted by California Proposition 65 include items such as the following:
- Herbal medicines
- Edible seaweed
- Leafy vegetables
- Dietary supplements