California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (“Proposition 65” or “Prop 65”) was passed with the intention of providing consumers with information regarding potentially cancer-causing agents in products that would allow consumers to make an informed decision as to whether to purchase the product. Proposition 65 requires “clear and reasonable” warnings to be placed on products that contain a chemical that the State of California determined may be cancer-causing or cause reproductive issues.

The list of chemicals currently on the Prop 65 list now numbers at more than 900, with new chemicals being added every month. For the most current list of chemicals on the Prop 65 list, please visit the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).

Proposition 65 penalties can be as high as $2,500 per violation per day. As companies often face the added prospect of paying the other side’s attorney fees, most Proposition 65 matters carry great financial risk and are very expensive to litigate.

Other states recently began to follow California’s lead and have passed laws outlining their own chemical “watch lists” with specific warning requirements for products manufactured and sold in those states. Although the lists of chemicals in these states contain far fewer (for now) chemicals than the Prop 65 list, companies must nevertheless pay close attention to the nuances between the states or else face significant fines or penalties. Currently, states that have passed laws regarding chemical watch lists include Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

How We Can Help You

CMBG3 Law’s California team has years of experience handling Proposition 65 matters. Should businesses find themselves in litigation under Prop 65, or in other states with similar regulations on the East Coast or West Coast, our team will tailor a defense best suited to the product / chemical / industry at issue and your business’ risk tolerance. Further, we have a sophisticated network of experts that can properly assess your company’s potential liability and mitigate litigation costs.

Proposition 65 is not just a law that a company facing a Prop 65 claim must deal with – any company doing business in California and selling, manufacturing, or distributing products must be aware of Prop 65, the list of chemicals that are regulated, and the proper steps that your company must take under the law.

Unlike other law firms who focus their efforts only on litigating Prop 65 claims, CMBG3 Law partners with our clients before a claim is ever filed to develop a cost-effective and company-tailored business plan to ensure compliance with the law before litigation arises. This ensures that your company can continue to plan for its short-term and long-term needs, all while receiving the highest quality representation in the most cost-effective manner.

Rebecca A. Bellow


Christine D. Calareso


John P. Gardella


Key Updates

May 4, 2018

On August 30, 2018, the warning requirements under Prop 65 will change. The standard “safe harbor” warning label language that was previously deemed a “clear and reasonable” warning will no longer suffice. The requirements for the new “safe harbor” warning language are detailed, and failure to comply can be costly.

What other changes will take effect on August 30, 2018? What if my company has inventory in stock that has not yet sold on August 30, 2018 – what am I required to do with the products? What are the new multi-language warning requirements that will take effect?

Answers to these questions and more can be found in CMBG3 Law’s “Proposition 65 White Paper”, available to your company at no cost. Just fill out the short form below!

Prop 65 White Paper Request Form


    • Christine Calareso speaks at EECMA conference April 26, 2018: “Warning: This Subject Contains a Discussion of Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer – Proposition 65 and Labeling Laws: Who Actually Benefits In the Age of Over-Warning?”

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