In a breakthrough meeting with AHPA president Michael McGuffin on Sept. 25, top officials of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recognized the value of AHPA's innovative proposal to allow more informative warnings for California's Proposition 65-listed reproductive toxins to replace the inflammatory and alarming language currently required. Based on this understanding, OEHHA requested AHPA to present specific recommendations on how to change the current regulations.
OEHHA currently requires warnings for reproductive toxins, such as lead, to state that a product contains chemicals "...known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm." AHPA is leading advocacy efforts to provide another labeling option that would warn against use by specific populations, such as: "WARNING: Not for use by pregnant or nursing women," or "WARNING: Not for use by children, pregnant or nursing women, or men or women who are trying to conceive."
"Proposition 65 warning language, at least for foods and personal care items, should be informative and as emotionally neutral as possible," said McGuffin. "The AHPA proposal would make warnings for exposures to Proposition 65-listed reproductive toxicants easier to understand for consumers because they instruct that the product should not be used by those populations who could be affected by exposure."
McGuffin further stated, "The AHPA language would fully conform to and satisfy the intent of Proposition 65 by ensuring that consumers receive 'clear and reasonable warning' relevant to exposures to these substances and would dramatically increase label compliance."
At the Sept. 25 meeting, which was requested by AHPA, OEHHA staff indicated significant interest in the AHPA proposal. As requested by OEHHA, AHPA, with assistance from California legal counsel, Trent Norris of Arnold & Porter, will provide specific recommendations on how to incorporate the label revisions into Proposition 65 regulations.
"AHPA is encouraged that OEHHA staff is receptive to amending the regulations to provide this additional warning option," McGuffin said. "If the regulations are amended, it would be a win for consumers and companies selling food and personal care items in California."