Proposition 65

Proposition 65

Published January 26, 2019

1 minute read

The Proposition 65 list started as an initiative in 1986 to address concerns on toxic chemicals in California in the USA. The list is a very good indicator for products that may be listed as substances of high concern in Europe. A toxic substance can be poisonous or cause health effects. Toxicity of a substance will depend on the type of effects it causes and its potency.


Types of Effects:

Different chemicals cause different effects. For example, Chemical A may cause vomiting, but not cancer. Chemical B may have no noticeable effects during exposure, but may cause cancer years later.



Potency (strength) is a measure of a chemical’s toxicity. A more potent chemical is more toxic. For example, sodium cyanide is more potent than sodium chloride (table salt) since swallowing a smaller amount of cyanide can poison you.


Toxic chemicals can be found as ingredients or additives in every day household or workplace chemicals. Pesticides, solvents and dyes can all contain toxic substances.

Toxic Substance Where it can be found
Formaldehyde In glues, adhesives, and MDF timber products.
Lead Some paint products, toys and Jewellery.


Toxic chemicals can be recognized by the labeling on the packaging of the product. The skull and crossbones is an international symbol  adopted by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). GHS has been adopted in Europe through the EC regulation 1272/2008 (CLP).



The current list contains variety of naturally and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer , birth defects or reproductive harm.

The prop 65 list has been very successful in raising awareness on toxic chemicals and also reducing their use in industry. An example would be the reduction in the use of toluene in the use of nail care products.

The see if you have any chemicals on your inventory listed on the prop 65 list, go to the substance tab on EcoOnline.

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Author Gillian

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