California Proposition 65

Effective Date: 30 August 2018

Q: What is California Proposition 65 and what are the requirements?

A: In 1986, California voters approved the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act known as Proposition 65. Proposition 65 mandates that the Governor of California maintain and publish a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or other reproductive harm. The list, which must be updated annually, includes a wide variety of chemicals that can be found in dyes, solvents, drugs, food-additives, by-products of certain processes, pesticides and tobacco products. A company with ten or more employees that operates within the State of California (or sells products in California) must comply with the requirements of Proposition 65. To comply, businesses are: (1) prohibited from knowingly discharging listed chemicals into sources of drinking water; and (2) required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. In 2017, California updated the warning rules and products containing Proposition 65 substances must now carry a new warning statement unless they can be shown to not have an exposure risk.

Q: Why has Cole-Parmer Ltd. placed a Proposition 65 warning on its products?

A: A Proposition 65 warning means one of two things: (1) the business has evaluated the exposure and has concluded that it exceeds the "no significant risk level"; or (2) the business has chosen to provide a warning simply based on its knowledge about the presence of a listed chemical without attempting to evaluate the exposure.

Cole-Parmer Ltd. has chosen to provide a warning based on its knowledge about the presence of one or more listed chemicals without attempting to evaluate the level of exposure. With Cole-Parmer Ltd.'s products, the exposure may be negligible or well within the “no significant risk” range. However, out of an abundance of caution, Cole-Parmer Ltd. has elected to place the Proposition 65 warning signs on its products. 

Cole-Parmer Ltd. is committed to providing safe, high quality products for our customers and we have worked with our vendors and our supply chain partners to ensure the purchase of raw materials that will meet Prop 65 standards and our labelling will read as follows to ensure full compliance with California Proposition 65 requirements:

California Proposition 65   


Q: What are the specific warnings required for different types of products?

A: California requires the following notices for the items detailed below:

Electrical Cords

WARNING: The wires of this product contain lead and other chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.


WARNING: Use of this product may expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Dust from Ceramic Fibers, Silica, etc.

WARNING: Some dust created by manufacturing activities contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Some examples of these chemicals are:

•  lead from glassware, paint or electronic components 

•  crystalline silica from glassware

•  airborne ceramic fibers used in heating insulation

NOTE: Risk from exposure to these chemicals varies; to reduce your exposure, work in a well-ventilated area and with approved safety equipment, such as dust masks that are specially designed to filter out microscopic particles.

Q: What are the labeling guidelines used for Cole-Parmer Ltd. products?

A: All 120V products shipped into the United States will be packaged with this statement in each box; 230V products will not be labeled as they are intended for the European market.

Q: How can customers trust that our product is safe?

A: If a Proposition 65 warning is posted, it means that the business issuing the warning knows that one or more listed chemicals is merely present in its product. The California government has also clarified that “The fact that a product bears a Proposition 65 warning does not mean by itself that the product is unsafe.” The government has also explained, “You could think of Proposition 65 more as a ‘right to know’ law than a pure product safety law.” See http://www.p65warnings.ca.gov

Best Regards,


CPL Compliance Team

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