Court approves California Prop 65 settlement,
"opt-ins" to settlement now permitted
On June 1, the court approved a settlement between the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and dozens of brands and retailers to settle a range of cases under California Proposition 65. As TGA previously reported, the settlement resolves allegations by CEH that dozens of brands and retailers sold "fashion accessories" (totes, handbags, purses, clutches, wallets, footwear and belts) in California that contained lead in violation of Prop 65. The settlement, which only applies to the parties to the settlement, requires that all future sales, in California, of the subject "fashion accessories" by the covered brands and retailers meet certain prescribed lead limits. The settlement also includes an "opt-in" provision to allow other companies to join the settlement. The average payout by parties of the settlement to CEH was $40,000 — $50,000, not including legal fees.
Under the settlement, all covered "fashion accessories" sold by the parties in California after December 1, 2010 must meet the following lead limits on accessible components:
- Surface Coatings (i.e. lead in paint) — 90 ppm (parts per million)
- Leather — 600 ppm (drops to 300 ppm on December 1, 2011)
- PVC — 300 ppm (drops to 200 ppm on December 1, 2011)
- All other components (except crystals/rhinestones) — 300 ppm
For footwear and belts, these dates are all extended by one year.
The settlement allows one year for covered retailers to ensure that all subject products they sell in California meet the prescribed lead limits, i.e. by December 1, 2011, all totes sold in California by covered retailers must meet the prescribed December 1, 2010 lead limits.
Please note that the lead limits prescribed in this settlement apply only to products sold by the covered parties in California. The settlement does not apply to subject products sold by the covered parties in any other part of the United States.
For products produced prior to December 1, 2010, covered parties have the option to continue selling those products after December 1, 2011, even if those products violate the prescribed lead limits, if the products are sold in California with warning labels (as prescribed in the settlement).
he "opt-in" provision allows companies to join the settlement for a cost of $40,000, $50,000 or $60,000, depending on whether the company is opting into the settlement for one, two or all three types of products covered by the settlement.
Please note that the settlement does not define "totes." It is unclear whether luggage and other travel goods would qualify as "totes" under the settlement.
Over 100 travel goods brands and retailers have been served "60-day" notices since the beginning of 2009 alleging that products they have sold in California containing certain chemicals are in violation of a California law known as Proposition 65. (Please click here to view a full list of the Prop 65 notices to date). Prop 65 covers over 850 chemicals, and the list grows every year. As a travel goods company it would be practically impossible, and prohibitively expensive, to create a testing regimen to ensure that none of your products contain any one of these 850 chemicals. So, how can you comply? You can put warning labels on your products. TGA has worked closely with Prop 65 legal experts to develop a series of sample hangtags and labels that TGA members can use as the basis for labeling their products. For more information on Prop 65 warning labels and to access the samples, please go to TGA's website.