California Prop 65: Acetaminophen

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Article | Jan 16, 2020

Proposition (Prop) 65 (also known as The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), is a state law in California that requires the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to publish a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Inclusion of a chemical on the Prop 65 list does not ban it. Rather, the law requires that companies provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical.

Acetaminophen was chosen for review by OEHHA in part because the Prop 65 regulation emphasizes chemicals with “widespread exposure.” The Carcinogen Identification Committee will review the information on acetaminophen and cancer to determine whether acetaminophen should be listed as a carcinogen under Proposition 65. Should the CIC vote to list acetaminophen, a warning statement could be required on labels of products containing acetaminophen.

In order to be listed under Prop 65 in California, acetaminophen must be “clearly shown through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause cancer. An up-to-date review of the scientific evidence based on input from leading experts in the fields of epidemiology, genotoxicity, and animal carcinogenicity found that the weight of the scientific evidence clearly demonstrates there is no causal association between acetaminophen use and cancer.

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