Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
The first line in a recent alert from the California Chamber of Commerce is tongue-in-cheek, but clearly represents how things are in the Golden State when it comes to business regulation.
“WARNING: Everything in California May Cause Cancer.”
The CalChamber alert is about a proposed change to Prop. 65 Warning Rules, which to the public mean those signs you see on the walls of businesses that use certain chemicals that could cause cancer or reproductive harm.
Just what chemicals cause that threat is the question. Is it really “everything?”
“That is the likely conclusion if one were to believe every Proposition 65 warning they encounter. So ubiquitous are Prop. 65 warnings that they seamlessly blend into the California landscape,” according to the CalChamber.
The state agency responsible for Prop. 65 regulations, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) even agrees that overwarning is a problem, creating “white noise” for consumers. But their proposed changes aren’t likely to reduce the warnings and could have unintended negative consequences for businesses, according to the CalChamber.
Private Prop. 65 enforcers (attorneys) can bring frivolous lawsuits against businesses that don’t have proper signage. Since 2010 businesses have opted to settle more than $185 million in Prop. 65 lawsuits. During the pandemic, Prop. 65 enforcement attorney got more than $1.1 million in fees just 30 days into 2021, according to the CalChamber.
The CalChamber is helping to lead a coalition to highlight the problem and help businesses stay out of the sights of opportunistic attorneys. For more information, visit https://advocacy.calchamber.com/policy/issues/proposition-65-landscape-2/