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January 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 January of 2024, product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers were the targets of over 510 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 January 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 January 2024 are excerpted and discussed below. A complete list of Notices sent in January 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, moringa powder, wheat grass powder, chlorella, beet root, psyllium husk powder, and spirulina powder 50+ Notices

Cadmium, Mercury and Mercury Compounds, Lead and Lead Compounds, Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA) and its salts, Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

Seafood: Notices include dried squid, sardines, crab cakes, mussels, calamari, dried seamoss, octopus, crawfish, and clams 10 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds
Fruits and Vegetables: Notices include apple sauce, celery juice, black fungus, pickled turnips, dried shiitake mushrooms, fresh spinach, kale, and sunflower seeds 20+ Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds, Mercury
Spices and Sauces: Notices include mulling spice, masala seasoning, garlic powder, sumac, turmeric, Himalayan salt, adobo paste, mole sauce, date paste, and apricot paste 30+ Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Arsenic (inorganic arsenic compounds), Arsenic (inorganic oxides)
Assorted Prepared Food and Snacks: Notices include oatmeal cinnamon bars, peanut butter, pickled vegetables, sugared donuts, hamburger buns, palak paneer, and dipped banana bites 20 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds
Noodles and Rice: Notices include protein pasta, dry noodles, rice paper, and coconut curry noodles 6 Notices Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds, Lead and Lead Compounds

Cosmetics and Personal Care

Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Powdered Cosmetics: Notices include compact finishing powder, eyeshadow palettes, blush, and highlighter 19 Notices Titanium Dioxide (airborne, unbound particles of respirable size)
Personal Care: Notices include aloe vera gel, baby lotion, sheet masks, shave foam, hand creams, and skin-lightening creams 11 Notices Diethanolamine, Mercury and Mercury Compounds

Consumer Products

Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Cookware: Notices include teapots, colanders, strainers, roasting forks, and copper pitchers 6 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), and Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP)
Clothing and Footwear: Notices include slides, gloves, belts, and hats 10 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), and Diisononyl phthalate (DINP)

Glassware and Ceramics: Notices include mugs, salt & pepper shakers, mirrors, frames, trays, candleholders, crystal glasses, and cookie jars

40+ Notices

Lead and Lead Compounds, and Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)

Pet Supplies: Notices include leashes, toy stockings, pet toys, and dog boots 6 Notices Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and Lead
Hobby Gear: Notices include crochet hook organizers, dumbbells, paint brushes, and snorkel systems 10 Notices Bisphenol A (BPA), Diisononyl phthalate (DINP), Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and Lead
Hardware: Notices include tools with vinyl or PVC grips, locks, knobs, pulls, valves, flashing, and tape 20+ Notices Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and Lead


Notices include discharges into drinking water

1 Notice

Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS)


Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Unleaded Gasoline 150+ 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.