Coming Christmas 2014: California Adds Another Phthalate Chemical to Its Proposition 65 List

With the 2013 holiday season behind us, the State of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) already appears to be looking forward to Christmas 2014. It has just wrapped and put a bow on next year’s Christmas present for Proposition 65 “bounty hunter” plaintiffs’ lawyers by adding the chemical diisononyl phthalate (DINP) to the Proposition 65 list. Under the statute, Proposition 65 warning requirements will automatically become applicable to consumer products containing DINP that are sold in California (or by the Internet to Californians) one year following the effective date of the listing, December 20, 2014.

Businesses that choose not to provide warnings for DINP-containing products sold in California after the Proposition 65 warning requirement for this chemical becomes effective just before next Christmas are likely to receive 60-Day Notice letters from the same Proposition 65 plaintiffs that have brought hundreds of cases on previously listed phthalates such as Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) in recent years. In fact, in addition to providing the plaintiffs’ lawyers with millions in attorneys’ fees, settlements of those claims largely resulted in reformulation commitments that required the settling business to find substitutes for DEHP, DBP and BBP in the soft plastic and vinyl components of their products. One of the most readily available substitute phthalates is DINP.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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