Frequently Asked Questions about MONQ Products and Proposition 65.
MONQ, LLC is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations. California’s Proposition 65 law requires businesses to notify California consumers about the presence of chemicals on the Proposition 65 list, and so MONQ complies with this law by providing these notifications on its products. MONQ also is addressing the possibility that its retail partners may have unlabeled inventory by providing them with point of display signs.
Proposition 65 is not a product safety law, but a notification law. The law does not ban products or regulate the chemical content of products. But Proposition 65 takes a conservative approach for when notifications are required, and penalties for noncompliance can be very high. In fact, thousands of businesses are targeted every year for allegedly failing to comply with Proposition 65, and have to invest significant financial resources to resolve those claims. For this reason, MONQ takes a conservative compliance approach and provides these notifications for its products.
California’s Proposition 65 is a consumer right-to-know law that applies to virtually all products sold in the State. The law requires businesses to notify consumers of the presence of chemicals on the Proposition 65 chemical list under certain circumstances. You may have seen similar warnings on other products, or in supermarkets, coffee shops, airports, hotels and restaurants in California. You also may have heard that a trial judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Proposition 65 cancer notifications are required even for coffee.
There are over 900 substances identified on the Proposition 65 chemical list. New chemicals are added to the list every year.
Many natural substances are on the Proposition 65 list. For example, pulegone is on the list; pulegone is a naturally occurring chemical from the essential oils of many plants. Beta-myrcene also is on the list. That substance is another naturally occurring substance found in plants. Even “salted fish, Chinese style” is on the Proposition 65 list.
The law is enforced by regular lawsuits filed in California courts. Those lawsuits can be filed by public prosecutors or by any person “in the public interest.” These private enforcers are entitled to keep 25% of any fines imposed. In addition to money fines, businesses can be required to pay the other side’s attorneys’ fees. Thus, there is a strong financial incentive to file enforcement lawsuits against businesses.
In fact, thousands of Proposition 65 claims are asserted against businesses every year. The California Attorney General’s Office, which maintains statistics on private Proposition 65 enforcement, states that in 2017 businesses paid over $25 million dollars, in the aggregate, to settle Proposition 65 claims. Almost 80% of those funds went directly into the pockets of the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Year over year, Proposition 65 enforcement data show that over 70% of settlement payments are paid to plaintiff’s attorneys.
Businesses may provide warnings if they have reason to believe that a listed chemical may come into contact with any surface of the body.
Based on available information about our products, including information regarding the constituents of our packaging and USB cords containing plastic and other components, MONQ is providing Proposition 65 warnings. We do so in an abundance of caution, particularly given in the aggressive enforcement climate in California. Our company is too small to fight these lawsuits.
We are aware that some of the naturally occurring substances in our products are identified on the Proposition 65 list. MONQ is committed to making products that comply with all applicable laws and that are as safe to use as possible. California’s Proposition 65 is not a product safety law, but a chemical right-to-know law that uses very conservative standards for when these notifications are required. We have no reason to believe that any of the products we sell are unsafe when used as intended.