Chemicals in Tires Will Not Require Warning Labels in California

Aug. 23, 2018

Several changes to the California Proposition 65 regulations go into effect Aug. 30, 2018. Both the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and Tire Industry Association (TIA) have addressed concerns about those changes.

The California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly referred to as Proposition 65, requires businesses in California to provide warnings to consumers about exposure to chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

In a response to tire retailers’ questions regarding compliance of consumer tires with Proposition 65, USTMA and its members affirmed that the new requirements do not create a need for a warning label.

"The mere presence of a chemical known to the state to be a carcinogen or reproductive toxicant does not require a warning label. Rather, the average daily exposure to the Proposition 65 listed chemicals in the product must exceed the Proposition 65 safe harbor exposure level for that chemical to require a warning," said USTMA.

Based on the cumulative information available to tire manufacturers on the composition of tires, other available sampling, relevant exposure assumptions, daily exposure calculations, and expert advice, USTMA and its members affirm the new requirements do not create a need for a warning label.

TIA had its lawyer, Peter Gunst of Astrachan Gunst Thomas P.C., issue a memorandum in response to USTMA’s document.

"The new California regulation relating to the responsibility to provide consumer product exposure warnings… places the warning requirement on the manufacturer or supplier, not the retailer," writes Gunst in the memorandum.

"The manufacturer or supplier may satisfy the warning requirement either by providing a warning on the product label itself or by providing written notice to the retailer identifying the listed chemicals and including all necessary warning materials, such as labels and the like."

Gunst says the sole exceptions where the retailer bears warning responsibility are:

1. when the retailer is selling a product under a trademark that it owns or licenses; or

2. if the retailer has introduced a listed chemical into the product.

Gunst concluded by saying the USTMA response "is inapplicable to those exceptions by their very nature."

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