OEHHA urged to defend Prop 65 lead limits

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OEHHA urged to defend Prop 65 lead limits

AHPA joins coalition criticizing lawsuit aimed at eliminating longstanding safe harbor for lead

Published: Thursday, February 5, 2015

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) joined a coalition to urge the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to demand that the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation abandon its recently filed lawsuit that would overturn the long-standing Proposition 65 "safe harbor" for lead--the most stringent in the world.

The coalition of more than 50 organizations, led by the California Chamber of Commerce, also urges OEHHA to vigorously defend itself against Mateel's lawsuit in order to avoid setting a precedent that may have broader long-term repercussions far beyond the lead safe harbor.
In a letter to OEHHA, the coalition notes that the current safe harbor for lead (0.5 mcg/day) was established by OEHHA in 1992, and eliminating it would place California even more out-of-step with standards set by the federal government and other jurisdictions around the world.

"Ensuring consumers have access to safe products is a top priority for AHPA and its members, but eliminating this safe harbor would provide no benefit to consumers," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "Instead, it would force more businesses to provide warnings that would likely be inaccurate and overly alarming."

The coalition highlights other negative consequences of repealing the safe-harbor, including:
  • Calling into question longstanding compliance determinations and prior court-approved settlements based on the existing lead warning threshold
  • Opening the doors to more unnecessary litigation, more burden on our overtaxed court system, more shifting of wealth to the coffers of the "citizen enforcers" and their counsel
"Mateel's request for relief, if granted or resolved through a settlement, would have profound adverse economic, legal, and policy implications, including many that the Governor and OEHHA have repeatedly stated they would like to avoid relative to Proposition 65 in the interest of all Californians," the coalition concludes in its letter.