California Prop. 65 Regulation Exempts Certain Coffee Chemicals From Cancer Warning; Stay in Coffee Case Lifted
June 26, 2019
Authored by: BCLP
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) has finalized a highly anticipated Proposition 65 regulation relating to coffee. The regulation, California Code of Regulations Section 25704, takes effect October 1, 2019. Section 25704 provides: “Exposures to chemicals in coffee, listed on or before March 15, 2019 as known to the state to cause cancer, that are created by and inherent in the processes of roasting coffee beans or brewing coffee do not pose a significant risk of cancer.”
As we previously reported, OEHHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the regulation in June 2018. The Office of Administrative Law approved adoption of the regulation on June 3, 2019, and OEHHA issued a Final Statement of Reasons on June 7.
OEHHA’s Final Statement of Reasons concludes that “the weight of the evidence from the very large number of studies in the scientific literature does not support an association between the complex mixture of chemicals that is coffee and a significant risk of cancer. … Therefore, providing warnings for such exposures would not be ‘clear and reasonable’ or consistent with the purpose of Proposition 65.”
The regulation’s immediate impact, however, is still uncertain pending further proceedings anticipated in a highly publicized Prop. 65 case against coffee roasters and retailers. Prior to the proposed regulation, in Council for Education and Research on Toxics v. Starbucks Corp., Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle had found that defendants failed to demonstrate that coffee does not pose a significant risk