Proposition 65 is a “right-to-know” law that requires businesses
to provide warnings before exposing individuals in California to
approximately 900 dangerous chemicals. The proposition was
intended to improve public health, however, the biggest impact of
this law has been to impose massive burdens on businesses without
showing any real appreciable improvement in Californian’s health.
The greatest success of Proposition 65 has been the creation of
unnecessary lawsuits that have done more to line the pockets of
lawyers than to clean up water or protect the public from toxic
chemicals. According to the California Department of Justice’s
Proposition 65 enforcement database, $27 million in settlement
payouts went directly to plaintiff lawyers in 2018.
The abusive lawsuit practices under Proposition 65 are
devastating for small businesses who are easy targets and lack
the resources to defend themselves in lengthy court cases. The
inability of these small businesses to pay for costly legal
services means they are more likely to settle out of court,
creating an “easy target” environment for the businesses who can
least afford to pay, and encouraging more frivolous lawsuits by
Prop 65 needs to be reformed so that California businesses
attempting to comply are protected from unnecessary and costly
lawsuits that can put them out of business.