Northern California Record

Sunday, September 22, 2019

CJAC CEO: Proposed Prop 65 amendments expose small businesses to 'increased risk of shakedown lawsuits'

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By Rich Peters | Aug 20, 2019


SACRAMENTO – Pundits throughout the state and country are growing concerned for the future of business in California due to the current litigation climate and backlash from Proposition 65 and its potential modifications.

First implemented in 1986, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, or Proposition 65, was passed with the intention of protecting the state’s drinking water sources from being contaminated with chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The law requires businesses to inform Californians about exposures to such chemicals and requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. 

The Office Environmental Health Hazard Assessment on July 5 proposed modified amendments to Proposition 65 that could increase the amount of warnings on food products – potentially leading to even more concerns for the Golden State.

Kyla Christoffersen Powell, president and CEO of the Civil Justice Association of California, said the proposals could lead to more "shakedown" suits.

“Since the beginning, Proposition 65 has been an ongoing burden for businesses and consumers alike,” said Christoffersen Powell. “The Office Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s proposal would only make this worse, exposing small businesses throughout California to an increased risk of shakedown lawsuits and unnecessarily alienating consumers from safe products.”

In particular, small businesses have had trouble keeping up with the ongoing litigation battles that they are being faced with because they simply don’t have the same HR departments and financial resources as the major corporations that call California home. This has caused a divide between large and small businesses and created ongoing lawsuits up and down the state.

Recently, the CalChamber responded to the proposed amendments in an article via Capitol Insider

“The heavy burden businesses already face when defending against Prop 65 bounty hunters will be substantially more difficult under a facility-by-facility approach," it said. "The CalChamber coalition is preparing comments pushing back against the modified proposal.”

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