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What is California State Proposition 65?According to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted as a ballet initiative in November 1986. The Proposition was intended by its authors to protect California citizens and the State’s drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and to inform citizens about exposures to such chemicals. Proposition 65 requires the Governor to publish, at least annually, a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. On December 18, 2009, wood dust was added to the list of substances “known to the State of California to cause cancer.” Once a substance is listed, businesses have 12 months to comply with the warning requirements. According to California Health and Safety Code Section 25249.6, as of December 18, 2010, no person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose an individual to wood dust without first providing a clear and reasonable warning. The warning requirement applies to any person employing ten or more employees who manufactures, produces, sells, distributes, or otherwise transfers a wood product into the stream of commerce in California. For more information on Proposition 65, go to https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/eyeandface/ppe/selection.html.
Why is the wood products industry concerned with California State Proposition 65?Starting December 18, 2010, California Proposition 65 now requires manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of wood products in California to provide the following clear and reasonable warning about wood dust to California consumers. The warning states: “WARNING: Drilling, sawing, sanding, or machining wood products generates wood dust, a substance known to the State of California to cause cancer. Avoid inhaling wood dust or use a dust mask or other safeguards for personal protection.”
The objective of Proposition 65′s wood dust warning requirements is to see that the wood dust warning is transmitted to the end user of the product that might be cut, drilled, sanded or otherwise machined in some manner. Retailers should display this warning at the point of sale, checkout counter and/or where the wood products are displayed so that it is likely to be seen and read by the purchaser of the wood products. For your convenience a warning sign with approved statement is available for download here in Acrobat PDF format. In addition, retailers should include this warning on invoices or shipping papers so that customers who order wood products by phone, by fax, by email or over the internet are provided this warning in appropriate manner as required by Proposition 65. Distributors who do not sell wood products directly to the public should provide a copy of these warning signs along with a letter to all of their retail customers in California to inform them of their duties under Proposition 65, and must make reasonable efforts to ensure that retailers are properly posting the warning sign. For more information on impacts of Prop 65 to industry, check this link from the Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association.