What is Prop 65 and What Does It Mean for Online Retail?
If you’ve ever been to California, you have probably seen this sticker or sign at least once: “Warning: This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer.” This warning, known as Prop 65, is seemingly everywhere. You will find it on cars, coffee, and even at Disneyland. As of August 30, you will now find the warning online too.
The History of Prop 65
Prop 65’s official title is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The law was created to warn Californians about when they might be exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) overseas Prop 65. There are currently 900 known chemicals that require the Prop 65 warning in California. In 2016 OEHHA adopted new regulations requiring online sellers to warn California based customers of potential cancer or reproductive toxicity concerns. This affects sellers on major retail platforms like eBay, Amazon, and Walmart, but thankfully, Listing Mirror has the tools to help sellers get their products up to regulation.
Each major online marketplace is trying to make this transition as smooth as possible for sellers. Because there are nearly 900 known chemicals that require this warning, it is highly likely your shop will be affected. If you sell to Californians but don’t have proper warnings, you can be fined up to $2,500 per day. If you aren’t sure your products fall under Prop 65 Amazon has a list of affected items you can explore. Amazon also prewritten Prop 65 warnings for over 20 different product categories, so you can simply copy and paste the correct verbiage into your affected product’s description.
When it comes to Prop 65 eBay is also trying to make the process seamless for sellers. EBay has created a prewritten text box for sellers that features a generic Prop 65 warning. Sellers will be able to change the verbiage to fit their exact product, or delete the text if Prop 65 does not apply to them.
If you sell across multiple platforms, listing management software from Listing Mirror can help you get all of your items up-to-date. Although sites like Amazon and eBay are trying to make it easy to comply with Prop 65, listing management software makes the process even smoother. Instead of going into all of your accounts and updating each inventory item, Listing Mirror can streamline the process, so you can get back to selling in California.
Effect on Your Business
Being forced to list a warning that your product may cause cancer is a daunting task for sellers. If you are worried you might lose customers based on the warning, don’t start shutting the doors just yet. As stated previously, Prop 65 has been around since 1986.
If you don’t live in California or visit the state often, it is hard to grasp just how prevalent these warnings are around the state. They are in almost every restaurant, at every store, and even sometimes just on the side of the road. Sure, there will be some people who are wary of buying products with the warning, but for the most part, Californians accept the warnings as a part of life, and will continue to buy your product if it is high quality and reliable.
The biggest effect Prop 65 will have on your business isn’t losing buyers, but rather the cost of making sure your products are up to code. To be in compliance with Prop 65 Walmart and other eCommerce sellers must follow new verbiage guidelines that also went into effect on August 30. Manufacturers and distributors must provide revised warnings on the labels of their products that includes a warning symbol (a triangle with an exclamation point,) the name of the chemical in the product, ad the URL of the OEHHA Prop 65 website. As a seller, you will also need electronic or written confirmation from the manufacturer that the product you are selling is properly labeled.
If you believe your products may be affected, Listing Mirror is here to help. It is important to get up to speed right away, to avoid that hefty $2,500 daily fine. Listing Mirror can help you ensure your inventory is within compliance across all platforms. Find out more on our website, listingmirror.com.
Sell More. Work Less.
Erin is the Co-Founder of Listing Mirror.