Have you noticed P65 warnings on a lot of the products or foods that you’ve been buying? It will usually say something like “This product can expose you to chemicals which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” It seems as if these P65 warning labels are showing up on more and more, so we’ve decided to get to do some research and answer the following questions:
- What does a P65 warning mean?
- What is a P65 warning?
- If I don’t live in California, do I need to worry about P65 warnings?
- Why do products or foods have P65 warnings?
- If something I bought has a P65 warning on it, is it safe to use/eat?
Most P65 warning labels usually all have the same last sentence: “For more information go to www.p65warnings.ca.gov.”
The P65 website is operated by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assesment and provides information to the public about chemicals, products, and locations that are associated with P65 warnings.
What does a P65 warning mean?
P65 stands for Proposition 65.
What is a P65 warning?
Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposure to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Proposition 65 became law in California in 1986 and requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm annually.
If you buy a product or food item that has a P65 warning label on it and you don’t live in California, that means that the product you are buying is more than likely sold to Californians and the business is required to have the P65 warning label on it.
Proposition 65 warnings are not just limited to physical goods and foods, it also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of chemicals into sources of drinking water.
What you need to know: P65 warnings allow Californians to make informed decisions about their exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.
If you don’t live in California, do you need to worry about P65 warnings?
The answer to this question is ultimately up to you. Proposition 65 is a state law in California but has a nationwide impact. This law has resulted in safer products and practices. It also allows consumers to make safer, more informed decisions about the products that they are buying.
Why do products or foods have P65 Warnings?
If you buy a product or food that has a P65 warning label on it, it means that you might be exposed to a chemical that has been known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm. California is required to update and publish a list of these chemicals each year. At this moment, there are approximately 900 chemicals on the list. You can view the P65 chemical list by clicking here.
If something I bought has a P65 warning on it, is it safe to use/eat?
Again, the answer to this question is ultimately up to you. If something you buy has a P65 label on it, it is up to you whether or not you heed the warning. These warnings do not necessarily mean the product/food is unsafe, but whether or not you choose to buy or eat it is ultimately up to you.
We hope that our blog post has helped you have a better understanding of P65 warnings, but we also encourage you to do your own research on the topic too.
Here are a few resources and articles about P65 warnings that might be helpful to you:
- PEScience: California Proposition 65 FAQ
- Loma Linda University Health: California’s cancer warnings: What are the real risks?
- Cancer.org: Cancer Warning Labels Based on California’s Proposition 65
- Newsweek: Here’s Why Everything Gives You Cancer in California
Let’s keep the conversation going, do you think P65 Warnings should become national law? Let us know why in the comments.