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May 2024 Bounty Hunter Plaintiff Claims
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

California’s Proposition 65 (“Prop. 65”), the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, requires, among other things, sellers of products to provide a “clear and reasonable warning” if use of the product results in a knowing and intentional exposure to one of more than 900 different chemicals “known to the State of California” to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, which are included on The Proposition 65 List. For additional background information, see the Special Focus article, California's Proposition 65: A Regulatory Conundrum.

Because Prop. 65 permits enforcement of the law by private individuals (the so-called bounty hunter provision), this section of the statute has long been a source of significant claims and litigation in California. It has also gone a long way in helping to create a plaintiff’s bar that specializes in such lawsuits. This is because the statute allows recovery of attorney’s fees, in addition to the imposition of civil penalties as high as $2,500 per day per violation. Thus, the costs of litigation, and settlement, can be substantial.

The purpose of Keller and Heckman’s latest publication, Prop 65 Pulse, is to provide our readers with an idea of the ongoing trends in bounty hunter activity. 

In May of 2024, product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers were the targets of 541 new Notices of Violation (“Notices”) and amended Notices, alleging a violation of Prop. 65 for failure to provide a warning for their products. This was based on the alleged presence of the following chemicals in these products. Noteworthy trends and categories from Notices sent in May 2024 are excerpted and discussed below. A complete list of Notices sent in May 2024 can be found on the California Attorney General’s website, located here: 60-Day Notice Search.

Food and Drug    
Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Dietary Supplements: Notices include joint health supplements, red reishi mushroom powder, prebiotic daily greens powder, ginseng, and smoothie powder 33 Notices

Lead and Lead Compounds, Mercury and Mercury Compounds, Cadmium and

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

Seafood: Notices include seaweed, sardines, scallops, chopped clams, mussels, shellfish, shrimp sauce, and pink salmon 35 Notices

Lead and Lead Compounds,

Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds, and Mercury

Noodles, Pasta, and Rice: Notices include broccoli rice, spinach and cheese tortellini, miso ramen, spaghetti, and mushroom ravioli 18 Notices Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury
Fruits and Vegetables: Notices include dried tangerines, cut leaf spinach, dried mushrooms, capers, and spring mix 23 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, and Cadmium
Spices and Sauces: Notices include za’atar, tamarind puree, cinnamon powder, paprika powder, tomato paste, and pepper paste chili 18 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds
Assorted Prepared Food and Snacks: Notices include kale chips, yogurt, energy bar, cauliflower pretzels, cinnamon oatmeal, and veggie chips 23 Notices

Lead, and

Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds

Cosmetics and Personal Care    
Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Powdered Cosmetics: Notices include eyeshadow, setting powder, pressed powder foundation, pressed highlighter powder, and blush powder 19 Notices Titanium Dioxide (airborne, unbound particles of respirable size)
Personal Care Items and Cosmetics: Notices include mascara, foundation, lip gloss, shampoo, sunscreen, body wash, soap, hair gel, shave gels, and hand sanitizers 200+ Notices

Diethanolamine,

and

Coconut Oil Diethanolamine Condensate (cocamide diethanolamine)

Personal Care Items: Notices include velcro hair rollers and dental care kits 2 Notices Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP)
Consumer Products    
Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Cookware: Notices include roasting forks, pick sets, and a knife cover 2 Notices Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)
Leather Goods: Notices include phone case and money pouch, and belt 2 Notices

Chromium (hexavalent compounds), and

Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP)

Clothing and Shoes: Notices include gloves, shoes, and headbands 7 Notices

Chromium (hexavalent compounds),

Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and

Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)

Clothing and Shoes: Notices include pants, shirts, and jackets 6 Notices Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
Jewlery: Notices include bracelets and earrings 2 Notices Lead and Cadmium
First Aid and Medical Devices: Notices include vinyl components of wheelchairs, blood pressures cuffs, and ice packs 8 Notices Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), Lead, and Diethanolamine
Plastic Pouches, Bags, and Accessories: Notices include backpacks, handbags, pet carriers, coin purses, and umbrella bags 26 Notices

Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and

Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)

Glassware and Ceramics: Notices include mugs, saucer sets, dishes set, plates, glass candle holders, and jewelry organizers 40 Notices

Lead,

Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), and

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

Housewares: Notices include ironing board covers, curtain rods, cushions, umbrellas, and curtain liners 7 Notices Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
Solder and Soldering Wire 4 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds
Tools: Notices include brass bars, hoses, ropes, dog leashes, pliers, iPhone cases and measuring tapes 28 Notices

Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP),

Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), Lead,

Bisphenol A (BPA),

Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)

Sports Gear: Notices include dumbbells, lead weights, and density cubes 7 Notices Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and Lead and Lead Compounds
Plastics Accessories: Notices include diaries and planners, cases of travel shoeshine kits, and badge reels 10 Notices

Diisononyl phthalate (DINP),

Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and

Lead and Lead Compounds

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