California Lists PFOA as a Cancer-Causing Substance

SGS, the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company, is advising stakeholders operating in California has expanded its listing for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) under Proposition 65 (Prop 65).

The Californian Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) originally listed PFOA as a chemical known to cause reproductive toxicity on November 10, 2017. The extension to the listing, made on February 25, 2022, means PFOA is now recognized by the state as a substance known to cause cancer.

PFOA is one of several per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) that are used in consumer goods to provide anti-water (waterproof/water-resistant), grease, oil and/or stain properties. These products include carpets, textiles, cookware and food packaging. PFOA is also used in the production of fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers.

Prop 65, or the ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’, is a unique piece of legislation passed in November 1986. It requires the state to maintain a list of chemicals (Prop 65 List) known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or reproductive harm. The list currently contains more than 900 chemicals.

It requires businesses operating in California to provide ‘a clear and reasonable warning’ (Prop 65 Warning) before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a substance on the Prop 65 List. Companies have twelve months to comply with this requirement after listing. The effective date for Prop 65 warnings for the new PFOA listing is February 25, 2023.

Prop 65 also prohibits businesses from discharging listed substances into sources of drinking water. This requirement becomes effective twenty months after listing and, in the case of the new listing for PFOA, the effective date is October 25, 2023.

Organizations that are exempt from these requirements include:

  • Businesses employing less than 10 people
  • Government agencies
  • Businesses where exposure creates no significant risk of cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm

SGS Prop 65 Services

With a global network of laboratories, SGS can offer comprehensive testing, product assessment and consultancy services related to California Proposition 65. SGS can assist your risk management strategy in consumer goods, such as DIYs, electrical and electronics, hardgoods products, juvenile products, and textile & toy products. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Learn more about SGS’s Prop 65 Services.

SGS SafeGuardS keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in the consumer goods industry. Read the full California Expands Listing of PFOA under Prop 65 SafeGuardS.

Subscribe here to receive SGS SafeGuardS direct to your inbox.

For further information contact:

Hing Wo Tsang

Global Information and Innovation Manager

Tel:(+852) 2774 7420



LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

About SGS

We are SGS – the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. Our 93,000 employees operate a network of 2,600 offices and laboratories, working together to enable a better, safer and more interconnected world.

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