Starting Dec. 20, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency, will roll out a new labeling requirement for products containing Diisononyl phthalate (DINP). Retailers and distributors in the state of California that sell items that contain this chemical must understand their obligations. This requirement is relevant for disposable glove distributors and retailers because some manufacturers use DINP in products made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), including disposable vinyl gloves.
What the new labeling rule requires
The requirement for DINP labeling stems from the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which is commonly known as Proposition 65. Per the law, distributors and retailers must have clear and understandable labeling that tells consumers DINP is present in a product.
This requirement does not say that products cannot contain the chemical. However, consumers must be informed if they are being exposed to unsafe levels of DINP. From Dec. 20 forward, any products that are not properly labeled will be considered in violation of the law. Not only can retailers and distributors face penalties from the government, but they can also be targets of lawsuits once it is revealed they sold improperly labeled products.
There is a specific standard label for DINP products:
- WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.
Prop 65 is meant to inform California consumers of harmful chemicals in products they use. According to the regulations, any products containing more than a trace amount of DINP must have a warning label.
In-depth look at Prop 65
According to the OEHHA, lawmakers created Prop 65 because voters wanted to be more aware of what chemicals are in the products they commonly use, particularly chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive issues and birth defects. Additionally, the legislation requires that California residents are informed about the presence of chemicals in products and chemicals that are released into the environment via manufacturing processes and products.
To keep consumers aware of harmful chemicals, the state publishes a list. Currently, this list exceeds 800 items. These chemicals are found in a number of places, from common household items such as vinyl flooring and garden hoses to solvents and byproducts such as unleaded gasoline fumes.
DINP, like all the other chemicals added to the list, met certain criteria for the Prop 65 program. One of these criteria is that an authoritative body, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, has found a correlation that a particular chemical causes any of the aforementioned issues. Also, chemicals are added if two independent groups of health care professionals or scientists corroborate these findings, the state or federal government requires labeling or they meet criteria of the California labor code.
What is DINP and its risks?
DINP is a phthalate plasticizer, meaning it softens plastics, and appears in many PVC products. Following oral exposure, the chemical is quickly absorbed into the body.
“DINP is a phthalate plasticizer that appears in many PVC products.”
How industries have responded
Labeling regulations under Prop 65 are meant to protect California residents, and chemicals on the list have stated risks, Bloomberg BNA reported. Many critics say the lack evidence with regard to DINP’s carcinogenic effects on humans is reason to reverse the decision to list the chemical. They said many products have contained DINP for years without any noticeable side effects in users.
While this may be true, retailers and distributors must ensure they are not liable for penalties and damages. Distributors could be liable if workers in these industries wear vinyl gloves sold in California that do not have the appropriate labels and contain more than a trace amount.
Despite what critics assert, distributors and retailers must adhere to proper labeling regulations under Prop 65 for products sold or shipped through the state of California. With vinyl gloves specifically, glove suppliers who are selling DINP compliant gloves are not required to label their PVC products with Prop 65 warnings.