For the past couple of years, the optical industry has been grappling with the placement of warning signs in California businesses after BpA (a chemical found in polycarbonate lenses and elsewhere in some eyewear) was placed on the state’s Prop 65 list of hazardous chemicals. Recently, a retailer selling sunglasses was put on notice as being in violation of the Prop 65 warning requirement. It is the first known violation notice in the optical industry, according to The Vision Council.
According to the violation notice, the retailer is Urban Outfitters, and the product in question was “UV-protected sunglasses.” The manufacturer is unknown. The retailer was cited for failure to provide “clear and reasonable” warnings about the presence of Bisphenol A (BpA) in the sunwear. You can read the violation notice here.
Proposition 65 has been a California state law since 1986. Passed as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, Prop 65 regulates the presence of certain chemical substances found in products sold in California, or present in the workplace in California. It only relates to products in California. Warning signs—with specific language and in specific locations—are required where those chemicals/products are located.
Since BpA was added to the Prop 65 list, The Vision Council’s Government and Regulatory Affairs committee has been working with manufacturers of optical products containing BpA (poly lenses, some frame materials, etc.) to ensure they have the information and resources to abide by the warning sign regulations. The hope, members of the committee have said, is to protect manufacturers and retailers from attorneys (or private citizens) in California from attempting to sue due to warning label violations.
Read EB’s past reporting on the issue here and here.
On behalf of its members, The Vision Council has been seeking an exemption from the warning requirements of Prop 65 for BpA, believing that dermal exposure is minute, and should fall within the Safe Harbor amount.
But until that exemption is given, The Vision Council continues to encourage member manufacturers (and retailers) to abide by the warning requirements. New warning requirements go into effect August 31, 2018—you can learn about them here.
The Vision Council’s regulatory counsel, Rick Van Arnam will be presenting on this topic at the upcoming COLA Spring meeting, taking place April 26–27, 2018 in Temecula, CA.
You can learn more and register for the 2018 COLA Spring Meeting here.
Interestingly, a similar issue has propped up in California’s coffee industry, as a chemical present during the coffee bean roasting process has prompted the same warning sign requirements. Read reporting on that issue here.