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Debating the effectiveness of Prop 65, CA’s cancer warning labels law, 30 years later




California has added BPA to its list of Prop 65 harmful chemicals, but the state agency in charge of enforcing the law says it needs more time before it will be ready to require manufacturers to add warning labels to their products, or to require stores to post notices on their shelves.
California has added BPA to its list of Prop 65 harmful chemicals, but the state agency in charge of enforcing the law says it needs more time before it will be ready to require manufacturers to add warning labels to their products, or to require stores to post notices on their shelves.
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In California, the passage of “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986” -- also popularly known as Prop 65 -- ushered in an era of product warning labelling for chemicals that could cause cancer or birth defects.

Critics have argued that the law, passed in the form of a ballot measure, too loose and general, but proponents argue that the law ensures transparency and empower consumers.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard and Vanderbilt University argues that warning labels aren’t effective because of how ubiquitous they have become. They go on to say that consumers simply skip over them.

Thirty years after its passage, AirTalk debates the efficacy of Prop 65.

What do you think? Have you changed your purchasing decision because of a product warning label?  

Guests:

David Roe, a former attorney at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund who helped wrote the The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Prop 65

Kevin Haroff, San Francisco Managing Partner of Marten Law, LLC, a law firm specializing in environmental laws. He has represented companies in Prop 65 compliance and enforcement since the law went into effect