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OEHHA Proposes Proposition 65 Warning Level for Ethylene Glycol

On April 8, 2016, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment published a proposed warning level for ethylene glycol of 8,700 micrograms per day.  The deadline for public comments is May 23, 2016.

Ethylene glycol, used in antifreeze products and other applications, was listed as a reproductive toxicant via the authoritative bodies mechanism on June 19, 2015 — meaning that the warning requirement for the substance goes into effect on June 19, 2016. Significantly, the listing was confined to the oral route of exposure.

Even so, the listing presented some scientific controversy. Notwithstanding a number of studies showing that no reproductive effects would be likely to be seen in humans, OEHHA relied on rodent studies.  Rodent metabolism of ethylene glycol is markedly different, and more sensitive to the substance’s effects, than human metabolism.

Of the warning levels established by OEHHA for Proposition 65 chemicals, this one is among the highest. That fact perhaps will relegate this substance to a low-level interest for enforcement.

Ann Grimaldi

About Ann Grimaldi

Ms. Grimaldi maintains a diverse environmental law practice focusing on chemical and product regulation and litigation defense. Her practice areas include Proposition 65, California's Safer Consumer Products Regulations, California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Act and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Ms. Grimaldi graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law magna cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bacteriology from University of California, Davis. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a research assistant in laboratories at the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Research Institute and at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

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