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Prop 65 and Button Making - Proposition 65 California

About California Proposition 65

Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, is a California law that requires businesses to provide a warning to consumers if their products contain certain chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

While it's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with these chemicals, there are a few reasons why Proposition 65 may not necessarily be a cause for concern.

Prop 65 was intended to notify customers of potential dangers so that they could make informed purchases. At American Button Machines, we fully support this mission. However, we feel that it is a poorly written law that fails to inform customers of the level of danger they face when purchasing a product. Our business classification does not require us to label our items with a Prop 65 warning. However, we care about our customers' safety so some of the products listed on our web site are packaged with the California Prop 65 warning for customers specifically in California. Please follow this link to view what products may include the Prop 65 label.

Products that are sold outside of California are not required to have the warning label even if they contain substances that might cause cancer. Some companies that sell products all over the US will label all their products while others only label those sent to California, even though all their products contain the same compounds.


From the American Cancer Society

Labels warning that a product contains chemicals that may cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm are now required on many household items sold in California. But people all over the country might see them because many companies put the labels on all items that contain these chemicals, even if they’re going to be sold in other states. The warning labels can be found on many kinds of products, such as electrical wires, jewelry, padlocks, dishes, flashlights, and pesticides, to name just a few.


Furthermore, the warning label does not necessarily mean that the product is unsafe: Proposition 65 requires a warning label if a product contains even a small amount of ny of the listed chemicals, but this does not necessarily mean that the product is dangerous to use or consume. The law sets very strict limits on the levels of these chemicals that are allowed, so the presence of a warning label does not necessarily indicate a significant risk.


Many everyday products contain Prop 65 chemicals: The chemicals listed under Proposition 65 are found in many common products, including food and drink containers, raw wood, coffee, cars, furniture, and even some fruits and vegetables. While it's important to be aware of potential risks, it's also important to keep in mind that we are exposed to these chemicals in small amounts every day and that the risk from any one product is generally low.

Overall, while it's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with Proposition 65 chemicals, the law should not be a cause for undue concern. Consumers should always follow the instructions on product labels and use products as directed, but the presence of a Prop 65 warning label alone may not necessarily indicate a significant risk.

The widespread use of Prop 65 warning labels has led to some criticism and ridicule. Critics argue that the labels are too broad and don't provide enough context about the actual risks associated with the chemicals in question. Additionally, some businesses have been accused of misusing Prop 65 as a way to scare consumers and gain a competitive advantage over their rivals.

Popular Science wrote an interesting article, California needs to stop saying everything causes cancer.


A Forbes Article mentioned,  One of those chemicals is 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a chemical found in the caramel coloring of some sodas. California listed 4-MEI under Prop 65 in 2012, generating the recent scare about the safety of fizzy drinks.

But this instance shows the silliness of California’s law. 4-MEI caused cancer in research when given in ultra-high doses to lab mice. How high? A human would have to drink the equivalent of over 1,000 sodas a day to consume enough 4-MEI to be of concern, according to a Vanderbilt University biochemist.

If you drink that many sodas a day, you’ll have far more immediate health problems than cancer. And the chemical even was associated with a protective effect on rats.

Forbes goes on to say; Remarkably, the label craze has actually spread during California’s litigation bonanza. There are now warning labels in coffee shops and parking lots and on fishing rods and Christmas lights. The warnings are so prevalent that they’re likely to be ignored or even ridiculed.

It’s time to take a step back from the noise. If there’s one thing the average Joe should understand about chemicals, it’s this: Despite their occasionally unpronounceable names, and despite their seeming ubiquity, they’re generally safe. University of California-Berkeley expert Bruce Ames writes that “about 99.9 percent of the chemicals humans ingest are natural.”

It’s one thing to appeal to consumer choice when touting organic food. It’s another to play falsely upon our chemical fears. In reality, as Ames and his colleagues have found, “99.99 percent (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.” In other words, the synthetic chemicals used on most farms make up a tiny fraction of the total.

What’s more, organic farmers can use pesticides such as rotenone and pyrethrum, which are derived naturally. And natural chemicals can cause cancer in laboratory rat tests.

Our exposure to most chemicals is so small in general that we aren’t likely to be affected negatively. Chances are, in reasonable quantities, the food we consume every day isn’t giving us the kind of heartburn and high blood pressure caused by the endless warning labels and activist scare campaigns on display in California.

Below is a link to an article from The New York Times:

Should I worry about Prop 65?  - Probably not.

The Prop 65 label is like a noisy alarm that rings equally loudly about smaller amounts of low-risk substances and huge amounts of potentially harmful chemicals. The labels don’t say how much of the chemical is present, or how much it would really take to make a person sick. You could get the same alarming label on potato chips (acrylamide), chemotherapy (uracil mustard), lumber (wood dust), or toxic runoff (arsenic). It’s obviously helpful to be alerted to the presence of potentially harmful chemicals. But not all doses of these different chemicals mean the same thing. 


Below is a list of our products and their associated Prop 65 warnings.

Prop 65





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