First California Prop 65 Settlement Reached for Bisphenol A in Socks

SGS, the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company, is advising stakeholders that the first California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) settlement has been reached for socks made primarily from polyester with Spandex containing bisphenol A (BPA).

Prop 65, or the ‘Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986’, is a unique piece of legislation passed in November 1986 that requires the state to maintain a list of chemicals (Prop 65 List) known to cause cancer, birth defects and/or reproductive harm. Unless exempted, businesses operating in California must provide ‘a clear and reasonable warning’ (Prop 65 Warning) before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a substance on the Prop 65 List. Once a substance is included in the list, companies have twelve months to comply with this requirement. Stakeholders should be aware that settlement agreements are only legally binding on named parties. However, they do provide an indication of how manufacturers and suppliers should progress when operating in California.

In early September 2021, several sock manufacturers and retailers received 60-day notices from the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). The notices related to socks made primarily of polyester with Spandex and sold in California without a Prop 65 Warning. These socks allegedly contained BPA, a substance known to cause developmental and reproductive harm.

BPA was added to the Prop 65 List in 2015. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic, epoxy resins and thermal paper, and as a dye-fixing agent for polyester and polyamide textiles. In Spandex, it can also be used for its antistatic properties. It is also used in the manufacture of flame retardants, fungicides, antioxidants and in PVC production.

Previously, BPA was not considered a high-risk chemical in textile fibers. This has become, therefore, the first settlement agreement relating to a failure to warn consumers of the presence of BPA in socks made primarily of polyester with spandex. The possible exposure route for BPA in socks is dermal absorption directly through the skin when wearing and ingestion via hand-to-mouth contact after touching or handling.

Parties named in the settlement agreement must choose to either reformulate or provide a ‘clear and reasonable’ Prop 65 Warning. Reformulations should be to less than or equal to 1 ppm BPA as measured by the test protocol. It should be noted that, under the terms of the agreement, BPA cannot be replaced with any other phenol (e.g., Bisphenol S)

See SGS’s original SafeGuardS 083.22 for more detail on this settlement agreement and an example of an applicable Prop 65 Warning.

SGS Softlines Services

SGS has a worldwide network of over 40 state-of-the-art laboratories, including 10 in China, specializing in testing of apparel, footwear, and home textiles. Their committed team is drawn from multi-disciplinary backgrounds, allowing them to conduct a comprehensive range of physical, chemical, and functional testing services for components, materials and finished products. SGS helps companies ensure quality, performance, and compliance with international, industrial, and regulatory standards worldwide. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Learn more about SGS’s Softlines Services.

SGS SafeGuardS keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in the consumer goods industry. Read the full U.S. California Prop 65 Settlement on Bisphenol-A (BPA) in Socks SafeGuardS.

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For further information contact:

Louann Spirito

Consumer and Retail — Softlines US & Canada

Softlines Business Head

Tel: +1 973 461 7919



LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

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We are SGS – the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. Our 96,000 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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