California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has announced that it is starting over with its revisions to Proposition 65’s short-form warning labels. OEHHA was unable to complete rulemaking within the allotted time to amend sections of the California Code of Regulations.

Promo Perspective: For more than a year, PPAI has participated in hearings on OEHHA’s proposed rule and submitted remarks during the public commenting period. Its involvement brought results. Following pushback from the Association and other trade organizations and companies, OEHHA softened what it was seeking in the short-form warning revisions. Changes PPAI helped influence include:

  • The removal of label size and package shape limitations governing short-form usage. OEHHA had originally sought to limit short-form usage to products where the total surface area available for the label is 12 square inches or less, or when the package size or shape cannot accommodate the full-length label.
  • Remove requirement that the font size of the warning match the largest type size used in other consumer information on the product.
  • Expand implementation of the short-form warning amendments from one year to two years after their effective date.

With the cancellation of the OEHHA’s proposed rulemaking process, industry companies no longer need to be ready for imminent changes to short-form warning regulations. When OEHHA resumes the process, PPAI will continue to work to steer any resulting changes in a direction most-amenable to promotional products companies.

Background: Under California’s Prop 65, businesses must provide consumers clear, concise warnings regarding significant exposure to chemicals in products that cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. In 2016, OEHHA updated the warning requirements under the legislation that allowed businesses, under certain circumstances, to use a short-form warning. This change was implemented, in part, due to businesses’ concerns that the long-form warning would not fit on smaller products.

OEHHA, however, has harbored concerns regarding the short-form warning. The agency’s perception is that companies are over-using the short-form warning, thereby not providing the information to consumers that the Prop 65 regulation mandates.

Round Two: OEHHA proposed amending the regulations related to the short-form warnings in January 2021. The law states, however, that rulemaking must be completed within one year of when it was first presented to the public. And while that one-year period was temporarily extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency was unable to complete the regulatory process within the allotted time and allowed it to lapse.

OEHHA intends to restart the rulemaking process on the short-form with a new regulatory proposal, informed by comments on the previous proposal, in the next several weeks. Public notice and an opportunity to comment on that proposal will be provided.