After years of starts and stops, OEHHA commences new rulemaking to change the Prop 65 product label requirements

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After nearly a year of heavy industry opposition and objections to the proposed draft regulations requiring all manufacturers selling goods in California to change their Prop 65 product label warnings, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) has announced that it will not meet its legal obligation to produce a final regulation on product warning requirements by January 19, 2016.   Instead, OEHHA will withdraw its previous proposed rulemaking, issued in January of this year, and open an entirely new rulemaking record separate and apart from that engaged in over the last year.

In response, Industry and other concerned parties will have just 60 days to provide written comment on the new draft regulations, a time period made short by the holiday season.  While OEHHA states that the new proposed regulatory language has undergone “substantive and clarifying” changes in response to public concerns – and indeed, there appear to have been some small concessions with respect to font size, the so-called “dirty dozen” requirement, and the sale of items manufactured prior to the regulations’ effective date – numerous warning requirements remain intact, with no guidance on what constitutes a “clear and reasonable” warning for businesses that elect to provide a warning other than the safe harbor warning, and with OEHHA insisting that the economic impact on businesses will be a mere $15 to $30 million state-wide.

In short, the draft proposed regulations will still impose significant costs on businesses selling goods into California.

A public hearing on the new draft regulations will occur on January 13, 2016 at 10:00 AM at the California Environmental Protection Agency Building in Sacramento California.  All written comments must be received by OEHHA by 5:00 p.m. on January 22, 2016.

The full text of the updated proposed regulatory language is available on the OEHHA website.

Further information on the initial January 2015 warnings proposal and on Prop 65 developments generally may be found on our blog here and here.

For more information on how Prop 65 and the new proposed warning requirements may affect you, please contact Maureen Gorsen or any other member of our Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources Practice Team.