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November 2023 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 November of 2023, product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers were the targets of 395 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 November 2023 are excerpted and discussed below. A complete list of Notices sent in November 2023 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, spirulina powder, hibiscus powder, and breastfeeding supplements 41 Notices

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

Seafood: Notices include canned sardines, oysters, mussels, clams, wild Alaska pink salmon, and shrimp paste 7 Notices Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds, and Lead and Lead Compounds
Noodles, Pasta, and Rice: Notices include chickpea rice, tri-color rotini, spaghetti, and mac & cheese shells 5 Notices Lead and Cadmium
Fruits and Vegetables: Notices include marinated mushrooms, dried mangoes, grape leaves in brine, dried white mulberries, and steamed spinach 16 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds, Mercury, and Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds
Chutneys, Moles, Pastes, and Sauces 7 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds
Assorted Prepared Food and Snacks: Notices include crackers, chocolate, rice cakes, seitan vegan chunks, and golden milk 14 Notices Cadmium and Lead and Lead Compounds

Cosmetics and Personal Care

Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Powdered Cosmetics: Notices include eyeshadow palettes 7 Notices Titanium Dioxide (airborne, unbound particles of respirable size)
Lip Oil Sets 1 Notice Di(2-ethylhexyl)Phthalate (DEHP)
Hand Soap, Facial Primer, and Facial Cleanser 3 Notices


Tweezers and Eyelash Curlers 2 Notices Di-n-butyl Phthalate (DBP) and Lead

Consumer Products

Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Various Consumer Products: Notices include plastic purses, flip flops, storage bags, children’s toys, tools, and exercise equipment 60 Notices Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP), Di(2-ethylhexyl)Phthalate (DEHP), and Di-n-butyl Phthalate (DBP)
Leather Wallets 1 Notice Chromium (Hexavalent Compounds)
Glassware and Ceramics: Notices include mugs, candle sets with exterior designs, metal and glass organizers, ceramic trays, plates, and glass bottles 23 Notices Lead and Lead Compounds

Fishing Sinkers and Fishing Weights

6 Notices Lead

Tools: Notices include brass D-rings soldering wire and solder

10 Notices



Notices include discharges into drinking water and bystander exposure from use of soil fumigants

3 Notices

Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), and 1,3-Dichloropropene


Product Category Notice(s) Alleged Chemicals
Unleaded Gasoline 189 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.