Wednesday, July 27, 2011

California’s toxics law celebrates a quarter century of successful regulation

California toxics law turns 25
California is often seen as one of the frontrunners when it comes to passing and implementing environmental or consumer protection laws.

One of the reasons is the well-known Proposition 65, which was introduced 25 years ago and required businesses and buildings to offer warning labels about the potential for cancer or birth defects related to the use of their products or spaces.

Since its introduction a quarter century ago, the law has prompted companies worldwide to change their formulas or products in order to comply with the regulations and to avoid negative publicity and consumer wariness.

According to an article in the San Diego News, the list of altered items runs from correction fluid and nail polish to jewelry and vitamins. 

Thousands of consumer products changed

By one count, more than 12,000 kinds of consumer products have been reformulated directly because of Prop. 65 warnings — and an unknown number of others have been changed before they entered the legal process.

Even as some companies and individuals continue to complain about higher costs and more difficult production, fact is, the law put California at the forefront of an international movement to limit human exposure to dangerous chemicals and compounds.

The list now includes more than 840 substances “known to the state of California” to cause cancer or reproductive harm, up from 30 in 1987.

International influence of toxics law

Even though the law remains unmatched in other states or countries, many international companies have changed their products or have taken measures to follow the law, experts say,  because no business would want to get caught using one safer product in California and offer a different product anywhere else.

It may not be effective all the time – the law was and remains effective and has made many people aware of the risks of chemicals and other toxic substances.

Source: San Diego News

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