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In December 2009, “wood dust” was added to California’s Proposition 65 list of substances “known to the State of California to cause cancer.” No exposure level was identified as either providing a sufficient safety factor or of de minimus quantity to obviate the need for this warning. Wood dust is on the list and the warning requirement goes into effect as of December 18, 2010.
California Health & Safety Code 25249.6 states that no person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose an individual to wood dust without first providing a clear and reasonable warning.
California’s Prop 65 allows individuals “acting in the public interest” to enforce Prop 65 by filing a lawsuit against a business for alleged violations of this law.
Several forest products associations have consulted with the California Attorney General’s office and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OHEA) to determine a reasonable manner of compliance on the warnings for wood dust.
Agreement has been reached on recommended warning sign language and placement of signage in businesses. Education and notification programs, as well as posting this warning on product packaging as feasible, by companies and wood industry associations has been agreed to by the Attorney General’s office as satisfying the “clear and reasonable warning” requirement of the statute. However, no one can be prevented from filing an action alleging a violation.
Sample Warning Signs