Prop 65 & Candles

Prop 65 & Candles


You’ve probably seen one of those Prop 65 warning signs on a product you were thinking about buying. Those little black and white stickers contain a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark and the word “WARNING” all in bold. Seems pretty dire…how worried should you be?


What Is Prop 65?


Prop 65 is short for Proposition 65, the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. This law requires the labeling of all products sold in California with a warning if the product may expose individuals to chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.


Even though this law went into effect in 1986, you have probably only noticed these labels in the last few years. This is because of a new regulation passed in August 2018 that requires Prop 65 labels for products sold through ecommerce. This regulation made it so that ANY product that might be sold to Californians has to have a warning label if it contains certain chemicals, rather than only products sold IN the state of California.


A Prop 65 label is needed for any product that contains a chemical(s) that may cause cancer or reproductive harm. The list of chemicals that require a warning is updated each year by the state of California and currently contains over 900 chemicals.


What Chemicals Do Prop 65 Warning Labels Warn Us About?


The list is long at over 900 chemicals. Some come as no surprise, such as arsenic, alcohol, and diesel engine exhaust. Other chemicals on the list have been brought into the public eye for the risk associated with their use at least partially through their inclusion on the Prop 65 list, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. For a full list of the chemicals currently requiring a warning label, visit:


How Worried Should I Be About a Prop 65 Label?


The amount of worry associated with a Prop 65 label varies. Recently, there has been a lot of debate over the effectiveness of Prop 65 labels, since they do not discriminate between products with a large amount of a chemical that is highly likely to cause cancer and products with extremely low amounts of a concerning chemical.


These labels also do not distinguish between products that are automatically harmful, such as breathing in diesel engine exhaust, and products such as holiday lights. With products like holiday lights, harmful chemicals can be transferred to a person if they touch the product and then touch food, transferring that chemical to their mouth, or in the case of babies and toddlers, possibly putting the holiday lights directly into their mouth. Unfortunately, these warning labels are not large enough for all the nuance that can surround certain chemicals and products. This leaves it up to the consumer to do additional research and decide if they want to avoid the product in question or take additional steps to protect themselves when using it. Some choose to just avoid the product in question, while others choose to ignore the warning label.


This has become a point of contention for many, who claim that consumers have learned to ignore the Prop 65 warning label entirely because of its ubiquitous use. The ambiguity of the amount of danger present in a product with the label doesn’t help, either. However, the underlying purpose of this warning label was to decrease the use of harmful chemicals in products, and there has been some success with this over the years.


The addition of a Prop 65 warning label:


  • Prompted Coke to remove 4-MEI (a known carcinogen) from its formulation of caramel coloring used in Coke products.


  • Resulted in a reduction in the level of lead found in Nabisco’s Ginger Snap cookies.


  • Resulted in a reduction in the level of acrylamide (a carcinogen) in potato chips and French fries produced by Heinz, Frito-Lay, and Kettle Foods.


There are countless other examples in which this warning label has reduced harmful chemicals in regular, every-day products, such as reducing the amount of arsenic in bottled water and the amount of lead in toothpaste. And it’s made candle companies less likely to use phthalates in candles and other fragrance-containing products.


Do TR Candle Co Candles Require a Prop 65 Label?


As you’ve probably guessed by reading this article, no, TR Candle Co products do not require a Prop 65 label. We specifically search for and only include ingredients that do not contain the chemicals listed in the Prop 65 warning list and that have undergone rigorous testing to ensure their safety. From our choice of soy wax, to our essential oil-based fragrances, to our lead- and zinc-free cotton wicks, all of our candle ingredients were chosen with your health in mind. So, stock up on your clean-burning candles and keep that fire going with some peace of mind!


Photo Credit:  Photo by Muhammad Daudy on Unsplash




Comments (0)

Leave a comment