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Proposition 65 FAQ



What is California Proposition 65?

The Safe Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, popularly known as Proposition 65, is a California law enacted in 1986. It requires businesses to provide California consumers special warnings when selling a product that may expose them to one of almost 1,000 listed chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The law mandates the Governor of California to maintain a list of chemicals subject to this warning requirement – the list, which changes frequently, includes a wide variety of chemicals that can be found in many everyday items, such as coffee, vinegar, fish, alcohol, dyes, solvents, and plastics, just to name a few. The purpose of Proposition 65 is to ensure that consumers are informed about the potential for exposure to these chemicals.

What is the Proposition 65 warning and what does it mean?

STIHL Inc. has elected to use the following Proposition 65 warning, which is specified directly in the Proposition 65 regulations:



A Proposition 65 warning generally means one of three things: (1) the business has evaluated the exposure from the use of its product and has concluded that it exceeds the level that requires a warning; (2) the business has chosen to provide a warning simply based on its knowledge of the presence of a listed chemical, without attempting to evaluate the exposure; or, (3) the business has chosen to provide a warning due to the possible presence of a listed chemical, without attempting to evaluate the content or the likelihood that a consumer would be exposed to the chemical or chemicals.
STIHL Inc. has chosen to provide warnings based on its knowledge of the presence of one or more listed chemicals, or out of an abundance of caution. The exposure may be negligible or well below the level that requires a warning; but, to ensure compliance with the statutory framework, STIHL Inc. has nevertheless elected to provide the Proposition 65 warning.

Why does STIHL Inc. include this warning?

The fact that a STIHL product carries a Proposition 65 warning does not mean that use of the product will cause cancer or reproductive harm. Moreover, a Proposition 65 warning does not mean a product is in violation of any product safety codes, standards, or requirements. STIHL Inc. complies with all state and federal laws regarding product and material safety. This fact, however, is irrelevant for purposes of Proposition 65 – if even trace amounts of a listed chemical are found in a product, Proposition 65 mandates a warning. The law is written such that, if questioned, a business must prove that the amount of chemical exposure possible from the use of its product is below the level that triggers the warning obligation. “Exposure” is a poorly defined concept in the regulations and difficult to calculate. On the other hand, simply providing the warning to consumers is straightforward – it eliminates much of the uncertainty related to compliance and also helps make the burden of complying with the law more manageable. Because providing a warning removes all of these potential costs and litigation risks, STIHL Inc. and many other manufacturers have opted to provide the Proposition 65 warning on its products.

I purchased a STIHL product outside of California. Why have I received the Proposition 65 warning?

STIHL Inc. sells products nationwide. It would be extremely difficult to determine which products will ultimately be distributed for sale in California. Therefore, to ensure compliance with California’s legal requirements, STIHL Inc. has decided to maintain a broader warning program, which may result in products sold outside of California carrying the Proposition 65 warning.