The Factored Quality Guide to Prop 65

Prop 65

In Part 9, we dive deep into California’s Proposition 65 and how it impacts quality control.

Any consumer brand knows the challenge of navigating quality control from product development to warehouse inventory audits.

Fortunately, at Factored Quality, we’re experts on all aspects of audits — so founders and startup operations teams don’t have to worry about the details. And we’re going to outline all of them in this series.

In Part 9, we dive deep into California’s Proposition 65 and how it impacts quality control.

Let’s dive in.

Prop 65 changed how California regulates product testing

Prop 65 (or the Safe Drinking Water and Enforcement Act of 1986) was enacted by California voters to combat toxic chemical exposure via water and consumer products. The proposition requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. 

The list is updated every year and has grown to include 900+ chemicals since 1987. Common chemicals found on the Prop 65 list include:

  • Vinyl chloride in window blinds and coverings
  • Acetaldehyde and methanol in cleaning products
  • Formaldehyde and chlorinated tris in furniture and carpets
  • Acrylamide in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes

Proposition 65 mandates that businesses inform Californians about chemicals in the products they purchase, are in their homes or workplaces, or get released into the environment.

It also punishes California businesses for dumping any listed chemicals into sources of clean drinking water. Penalties include: 

  • Court orders for the business to stop committing the violation
  • Civil penalties of up to $2,500 per day for each violation

How Prop 65 impacts product testing for brands

No brand wants to find itself selling a product deemed dangerous, but the challenge lies in navigating supply chains where compliance is further complicated by cross-contamination. Correcting any issues becomes even more challenging once non-compliant materials (sometimes unknowingly) enter the supply chain.

These aspects of Prop 65 represent the two fundamental reasons you need inspection partners for quality control: manufacturing best practices and liability protection.

Best practices

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) can inform your Prop 65 compliance, but there are other factors that an inspection partner can help with. 

Take the paint industry, for example. Heavy metals are common in paints; some, such as lead and cadmium, are listed under Prop 65. Despite recognizing these dangers, certain colors containing heavy metals are essential for cookware products due to their high-temperature requirements and may not be easily replaceable with compliant alternatives. 

Because there's always potential for cross-contamination with non-compliant products, an inspection partner ensures that your manufacturing facilities use clean equipment and follow proper testing procedures. This extra level of certification protects well-intentioned brands from losing customer trust or being a defendant in a lawsuit.

Liability mitigation 

Another reason to comply with Prop 65 regulations is liability. Products that don’t meet these requirements open up your company to litigation and other financial consequences of noncompliance. 

For DTC brands selling products to California customers, compliance is essential — even if your business isn’t based in California. Let’s say a customer in California makes a purchase and your product has a chemical on the State’s list. Your business is still at risk of warnings, fines, and civil lawsuits.

An inspection partner can also protect your reputation and bottom line by identifying any potential gaps in your compliance procedures, even with a distributed supply chain. 

Factored Quality helps brands stay compliant with Prop 65

With Factored Quality, your brand can stay ahead of the latest compliance changes with an inspection partner you can trust. We focus on the fine details of quality control, including:

  • Serving as a liaison between you and your factories
  • Building custom QC, compliance, and testing checklists and protocols
  • Analyzing your suppliers, products, and more 
  • Providing a single source of truth platform for your entire supply chain

From product testing and production to supplier audits and samples, Factored Quality is committed to keeping your products safer with quality control support.

Book your personalized demo today.

Subscribe to keep up with the latest at FQ

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Book A Demo

Join 100+ brands running QC on Factored Quality