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February 2024 Bounty Hunter Plaintiff Claims

Logo for Prop 65 Pulse, a Keller and Heckman LLP newsletter, with imagery of a heart monitor and the outline of California


Exploring Trends in California’s Proposition 65: Claims, Chemicals, Products, and More

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 February of 2024, product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers were the targets of over 352 new Notices of Violation (“Notices”) and amended Notices, alleging a violation of Prop. 65 for failure to provide a warning for their products. The amount of Notice activity in February of 2024 far exceeds any amount of Notice activity in any month in 2023. Notices were based on the alleged presence of the following chemicals in these products. Noteworthy trends and categories from Notices sent in February 2024 are excerpted and discussed below. A complete list of Notices sent in February 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 protein powder and plant protein powder, maca root powder, wheatgrass, rose powder, fiber supplements, alfalfa complex, and keto coffee blends 35+ Notices

Cadmium, Lead and Lead Compounds

Seafood: Notices include cuttlefish ball, mussels, oysters, anchovies in soy sauce, sardines in tomato sauce, and prawn soup 10+ Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds
Fruits and Vegetables: Notices include pickled vegetables, roasted eggplant, dehydrated carrots, purple sweet potato powder, beet crisps, dried lemon, grape leaves, flaxseed, mushroom powder, and dried mulberry 25+ Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds
Spices and Sauces: Notices include mole, coriander chutney, cinnamon, curry paste, chili spices, and fermented green mustard 6 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, and Cadmium
Assorted Prepared Food and Snacks: Notices include pea protein chips, plant-based deli, hot cocoa gift sets, gingerbread, flaxseed crackers, pumpkin porridge, nut butter, fruit rolls, and instant spicy soup 14 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Cadmium, and Cadmium Compounds
Noodles and Rice: Notices include brown rice ovaletts, vermicelli noodles, sweet potato noodles, and instant rice noodles 4 Notices Mercury and Lead

Cosmetics and Personal Care

Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Powdered Cosmetics: Notices include compact finishing powder, bronzing powder, eyeshadow palettes, root coverup, blush, setting powder, and eyebrow powder 30+ Notices Titanium Dioxide (airborne, unbound particles of respirable size)
Personal Care: Notices include aloe vera gel, stretch mark prevention cream, facial scrubs, cooling gels, face masks, body cream, collagen moisturizer, and mascara 21 Notices Diethanolamine

Consumer Products

Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Water Resistant Apparel and Various Consumer Products: Notices include jackets and umbrellas, PTFE thread seal tape, outdoor chair covers, and napkins 14 Notices Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
Plastic Pouches, Bags, and Accessories: Notices include shopper totes, travel sets, makeup bags, change purses, glasses cases, cross body bags, woven bags, and clear zipper bags 30+ Notices Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)
Shoes 2 Notices Bisphenol A (BPA)

Plastic Pouches, Bags, and Accessories: Notices include storage bags, backpacks, purses, wallets, cases, and pouches

50+ Notices Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), Diisononyl phthalate (DINP), and Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)

Glassware and Ceramics: Notices include include mugs, salt & pepper shakers, candleholders, dip bowls, dog bowls, figurines, ornaments, and cookie jars

45+ Notices


Hardware and Home Improvement Products: Notices include puller knobs, deadbolts, plumbing rings, hose kits, couplers, hammers, and plugs 25+ Notices Lead, Cadmiumm, Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), and Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)


Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Unleaded Gasoline 19 Notices Unleaded Gasoline (wholly vaporized)

There are numerous defenses to Prop. 65 claims and proactive measures that industry can take prior to receiving a Prop. 65 Notice in the first place. Keller and Heckman attorneys have extensive experience in defense of Prop. 65 claims and in all aspects of Prop. 65 compliance and risk management. We provide tailored Prop. 65 services to a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, cosmetics and personal care, consumer products, chemical products, e-vapor and tobacco products, household products, plastics and rubber, and retail distribution.

To contact us with questions or for more information about California's Proposition 65, email or call our Washington, DC office at 202.434.4100 or our San Francisco office at 415.948.2800.