California’s coffee industry breathed a collective sigh of relief earlier this month when the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”), the agency charged with implementing Proposition 65, finalized a regulation that exempts coffee from the need to bear a cancer warning.
California maintains a list of chemicals that it considers to cause cancer or reproductive harm. California’s list includes common carcinogens such as alcohol, lead, diesel exhaust fumes, asbestos, and nicotine, but also some that you might not suspect, including aloe vera leaf extract and wood dust. The state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, commonly known as Proposition 65, requires businesses to provide warning labels before “exposing” consumers to any of the nearly 900 listed chemicals. Businesses that violate Proposition 65 could face penalties of up to $2,500 per day for each violation. A warning is not required if the carcinogen exposure poses no significant risk of cancer. Businesses, however, have struggled with the financial and evidentiary burdens associated with meeting this standard. Continue Reading