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Regulatory Information

safetywarningsmall Warning: Cancer

What regulation initiated this warning?

"Proposition 65" administered by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), a division of the California Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).

What is Proposition 65?

In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, but is better known by its original name of Proposition 65.

Proposition 65 requires IEPA to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. This list, which must be updated annually, has grown to over 800 chemicals since 1987.

Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about the presence of these chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces or that are released into the environment.

What types of chemicals are on the list?

The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, solvents, alcoholic beverages and tobacco smoke. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction, or they may be by products of chemical processes.

What requirements does Proposition 65 place on companies doing business within the State of California?

Businesses are required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a listed chemical. This warning can be given in a variety of means, such as labeling a consumer product, publishing notices in a newspaper or posting signs at the point of sale.

What types of chemicals on the list are typically found in wood cabinets?

Formaldehyde gas is a listed chemical. Formaldehyde in liquid form is found in all plants and animals as an essential constituent of our biological processes. As such, it is naturally occurring in all wood products. It may also be used as an ingredient in the resins used to bind together the plywood, particleboard or MDF used in modern cabinet construction. A third use in kitchen cabinets is as a chemical catalyst in the finishing materials, helping to speed and strengthen the curing of the protective coatings. Nearly all the off gassing of the formaldehyde occurs during the manufacturing of the board or in the curing ovens at the cabinet assembly plant.

Wood dust was added to the carcinogen list in 2009 based on a study that potentially associated it with a rare form of upper respiratory cancer after long term exposure to wood dust by workers in wood products manufacturing. Wood dust may be generated during the installation process for wood kitchen cabinets. Personal exposure may be minimized by the use of dust collection and personal protective equipment, such as dust masks, during those operations.

Where can I get more information on Proposition 65?

Visit their website at

Wood Dust Safety Data Sheet (PDF, 152KB) »

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