ISSA, other impacted cleaning industry stakeholders oppose California’s proposed rule to upend short-form warnings currently used in Proposition 65; ISSA will continue to advocate on this issue and keep its members apprised

Sample article from our Tissue & Hygiene

November 2, 2023 (press release) –

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has again proposed a rule to upend short-form warnings—“safe harbor” language that currently does not need to identify a chemical being warned about, only the endpoint—under Proposition 65.

Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. Proposition 65 became law in November 1986, when California voters approved it by a 63%-37% margin. The official name of Proposition 65 is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Regulations currently allow two choices of safe harbor warning language which, if used as specified, serve as a defense to a violation claim. The choices are known as the long-form and short-form warnings.

OEHHA initially noticed in January 2021 changes to the short-form warning labels. A large coalition of impacted stakeholders, including ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, drafted numerous rounds of comments articulating issues with the proposed rulemaking. The coalition’s advocacy efforts ultimately lead the agency to table the issue. However, the agency has been publicly clear since that decision that they would revisit this issue and propose a modified regulation on short-form warnings.

Of note regarding this proposed rule

  • The agency’s priority appears to be requiring all short-form warnings to include at least one chemical on the label.
  • Comment deadline: December 20, 2023 (one week after public hearing)
  • The public hearing on this rulemaking:

When: Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at 10 am PT

Where: CalEPA Headquarters,1001 I Street, Sacramento CA in the Sierra Hearing Room.

Remote participation: There will be remote access posted before the meeting on OEHHA’s website.

ISSA will continue to monitor and advocate on this issue as appropriate, as well as keep its members apprised regarding related developments. For questions about the proposed rule and ISSA advocacy, please contact ISSA Director of Government Affairs John Nothdurft.

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