Paints and Solvents

I’ve noticed that containers of products like spray paint often feature a warning that says the State of California recognizes the product as a potential cause of cancer and birth defects. What’s the deal? Are these products more dangerous in California? Or are the other 49 states simply blind to the dangers health-concious Californians are all too aware of?

California has more stringent requirements for chemical testing. They also have tougher standards and regulations for enforcement.

We, the other State environmental agencies, mostly look at California as the canary in the coal mine. If they can adequately get their standards enforced, we see if it actually makes a difference in their “pollution” levels. Then we plagia… um, consult with them about broadening our own regulations. California is, overall, a more environmental community than most states.

Other states do not require labels bearing the state’s recognition of a chemical’s hazards. California does. Other states may or may not recognize the dangers, but we’ll never know, because, well, they haven’t got a label, have they? (with apologies to Eddie Izzard)

Those warnings are all over the place in California. All kinds of stores and businesses have signs out front saying something like, “This facility contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, etc.” I think sometimes they’re just referring to cleaning supplies. Also, grocery stores now have to put up a big sign in their fish section warning people about mercury in fish and listing the kinds of fish that are most likely to have a lot of mercury in them.