What is Prop 65?

Proposition 65 (Prop65) is known officially as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 and its intended use is to inform Californians of potential exposures to chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

Whether these chemicals are in products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or are released into the environment, Prop 65 dictates that Californians need to be informed. It also prohibits businesses from knowingly contaminating sources of drinking water with significant amounts of chemicals listed under Prop 65.

Each year, new chemicals are added to the list. The list was first published in 1987 and has since grown to include almost 900 chemicals.

For more information, please visit the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) Prop 65 info page.

Why is there a warning label on my gloves?

In 2018, two chemicals used to create polyurethane gloves were added to the Prop 65 list: N, N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) and N, N-Dimethylacetamide (DMAC). In the glove-making process, these solvents are used before gloves are dipped. After exposure to these chemicals, the dipped gloves are then sent through a hot water bath, which reduces the amount of solvent present.

The gloves are then cured in an oven, which eliminates almost all remaining solvent through evaporation. Speaking in parts per million, the amount of DMF and DMAC left on the glove is typically between 500 (on the high end) and less than 10 (on the low end).

As such, polyurethane gloves have extremely low concentrations of these chemicals. Based on the scientific evidence that we have reviewed, we don’t believe there is any concern for human toxicity. However, Prop 65 does not consider the concentrations of these chemicals, only their presence, for labeling requirements.

What other products have Prop 65 warnings?

Prop 65 considers only the presence of certain chemicals in products, not the concentrations of those chemicals.

There are Prop 65 warnings on popular beverages such as coffee (contains acrylamide), soda (contains 4-MEI) and alcohol (high, sustained usage makes you more likely to get cancer) as well as at amusement parks (due to the metal dust and diesel fumes) and in hotels (due to the presence of smoking and alcohol consumption, both of which can make you susceptible to cancer).

Popular Science published a list of Prop 65 warnings they believe to be superfluous and Forbes magazine found that for the 4-MEI in soda to be of concern to humans, a person would have to drink over 1,000 sodas per day.

Too much warning is better than not enough, but before you eliminate products based on a Prop 65 warning, investigate which chemical initiated the warning and whether the concentration of that chemical in the product is indeed harmful enough to stop usage.

I’m concerned, is there an alternative?

For those concerned about the use of dipped polyurethane gloves, the best alternative is a foam nitrile glove.

The foam nitrile gloves manufactured by Superior Glove in Canada are Prop 65 compliant.


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