Artificial Grass and California Proposition 65
The topic of Proposition 65 warning labels found on some common artificial grass products came up in a blog post we published back in December. At the time, we wished we could go into detail about it, but it just didn’t fit in the post. So, today, we want to take a deep dive into artificial grass and California Proposition 65 chemicals. Specifically, we’ll address:
- What the label means,
- Which products carry the label,
- Why we apply the label to some of our products.
We’re going to get a little technical here, so feel free to just read the italicized section summaries for the main points and skip over all our hard research and writing. We don’t mind. Really. *Ahem*
Ok, put on your old-timey lawyer wig, because here we go… (You totally have one of those, right? Come on, everyone does.)
What Does the Proposition 65 Label Mean?
Proposition 65 puts the burden of proof on the business to show that their product or facility should not need to carry the label should their compliance be called into question.
If you live in California, you’ve seen them.
There are many requirements, stipulations, and exceptions included in Proposition 65, so we have endeavored to parse through the legalese to find the most relevant language to our discussion here.
First and foremost, the label is used in compliance with the 1986 legislation, “Proposition 65: Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986”. It requires both businesses to provide clear and reasonable warning of significant exposure to known carcinogens, and the state to maintain a list of such chemicals.
How does a business know if its products or workplace contain one of the listed chemicals? The California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment says this on their Proposition 65 About page:
“Using its knowledge of its business operations and the chemicals it uses, a business can review the Proposition 65 list to determine whether its operations or products are likely to expose people in California to any listed chemicals.”
This means it’s entirely up to the business to determine if it’s exposing individuals to chemicals found on California’s list of known carcinogens. If a business determines that listed chemicals are present in their workplace or product, they may still elect not to display a warning. However, they must be able to show that “the exposures they cause are so low as to create no significant risk of cancer or are significantly below levels observed to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
Why Do Some Products Carry the Proposition 65 Label?
Just because you see the label doesn’t guarantee you are being exposed to the chemicals in high enough dosage to have an effect.
In other words, Proposition 65 puts the burden of proof on the business to show that their product or facility does not need to carry the label. For this reason, many businesses heir on the side of caution and include the label wherever they find carcinogens, be it a significant exposure threat or not.
So, just because you see the label doesn’t guarantee you are being exposed to the chemicals in high enough dosage to have any significant effect.
Yep, it’s that simple.
What About Our Products? Why Do Some Carry the Label?
We apply the label in abundance of caution, not because the products are a true health threat.
Our silica sand and Mellowfill infills carry the Proposition 65 warning label because the base ingredient of both is silica. Silica is a known carcinogen and, when dry, can produce dust that can be inhaled. So, why do we offer these products?
In our experience, these infills are safe. We apply the label in abundance of caution, not because the products are a true health threat.
The silica in Mellowfill is encapsulated completely in a vinyl coating that prevents the silica from forming dust and escaping into the environment. It can be handled all day every day with no known negative health implications.
Silica Sand is raw silica, so we only recommend this product for zero-foot-traffic zones and always encourage wearing a mask when handling it. As long as it is not stirred up to form dust, it is safe.
The health and safety of our customers and employees are of paramount importance to us. Because of this, we’ve already broken from the mainstream, eliminating traditional turf products, like crumb rubber, because we simply weren’t comfortable with the health threats it posed (not to mention its sub-par performance!). We take great pride in offering a product that is healthier for you, your yard, your finances, and the environment.
That’s the whole point, after all!