A small amount of wood dust, brass, PVC or other elements on furniture and household items might seem trivial to many. The state of California, however, has taken the issue of ingredients in consumer products to a whole new level with its Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, known as "Proposition 65."
Originally, the proposition was intended to protect drinking water sources from chemical contamination. Over the years, however, the scope of the law has exploded. As the Los Angeles Times wrote recently, "Warnings (about Proposition 65) are everywhere: parking lots, hardware stores, hospitals and just about any decent-sized business."
Proposition 65 requires warning labels on products that may contain any of 800-plus chemicals or ingredients that the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) lists as a carcinogen or a reproductive toxicant. These include wood dust, brass, and a multitude of other everyday elements. A flame retardant upholstery chemical currently required by the state of California to be added to upholstered furniture foams is now included among chemicals that require a warning under Proposition 65.
Many of the elements listed under Proposition 65 are common everyday additives found in products such as jewelry, lamps, ceramic tableware, lead crystal glasses, electric cords, automobiles, beauty products and furniture.
Because there is always a chance that wood dust or some other of the hundreds of ingredients listed in Proposition 65 could potentially be on our products or packing materials, we must include Proposition 65 warnings on our products or risk large fines under this law in California. In addition, we are required to use the exact wording for this warning specified by California: " This product can expose you to chemicals including formaldehyde or Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) which are known to the state of California to cause cancer, and birth defects and or other reproductive harm. For more information regarding the regulation go to www.P65warnings.ca.gov."
Ideally, we would have placed these Salamander Designs warnings only on our products being shipped to California. However, Salamander Designs, like most companies, builds products in large quantities for stock. At the time of production, we rarely know where each item will ship. We have no alternative except to place these warnings on all of our products, whether it ends up in California or not. It is also important for all retailers to leave the warning on the product when they are shipping to people in California.
The safety of our customers and our employees is of highest priority for Salamander Designs.