Recently Amazon sent out an email to many Amazon sellers telling them they have inventory that does not have an updated California Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) warning. In this blog post, I’ll share with you what Prop 65 is, how it impacts your Amazon business, how you can find which items are impacted by this warning, and what to do next to make sure you’re compliant with the updated Amazon guidelines.
Before we continue, as with any communication from Amazon, it’s important to always read emails from Amazon thoroughly since they contain vital updates you need to know and understand for the success of your business. Read the entire email, click on the links within the email, and respond in your Amazon business appropriately.
Ok, so what exactly is California Prop 65 and why does Amazon need all sellers (not just those in California, and not just those with inventory in California) to update these warnings in the Amazon listings?
California Prop 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that potentially cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. By requiring that this information be provided, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals.
Since the people of California have access to Amazon.com, Amazon is legally obligated to make sure that these types of products are updated with the correct warnings, even if the inventory or customer is in another state. This is similar to when, a few years ago, Chicago made a law to not allow the sales of non-breathable baby crib bumper pads within the city limits, and Amazon responded by deleting all listings of the non-breathable crib bumper pads. For more details on Prop 65, click here.
So how can you find out which items are subject to this warning? Here’s a step-by-step walk-through of how:
1. Log in to https://sellercentral.amazon.com
2. Hover over INVENTORY and click ADD A PRODUCT.
3. In the INVENTORY box on the right, click on DRAFT LISTINGS.
4. On the COMPLETE YOUR DRAFTS page, in the REFINE BY box, click CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING TYPE. (seen below)
5. Now you’ll see (if any) the items that are impacted by this warning.
6. You can copy/paste each SKU into the search bar of your active/inactive listings to see exactly which items are impacted by the warning.
7. If you know what the proper Prop 65 warning is, then you can click EDIT DRAFT, then click COMPLIANCE, and then pick the proper warning from the list.
It’s very important that you don’t assume anything, but know 100% for sure what the correct warning is. Even if you think it’s obvious, don’t guess! Everyone’s safety is very important and you don’t want to accidentally mislead or hurt someone based upon an assumption. You also don’t want to risk your seller account by entering faulty information. Amazon tracks who makes these listing updates, so be sure you know for sure before picking an option.
Below is an image of some of the possible warnings to choose from. Note: it may be different for each item.
If you don’t know the proper warning (most Amazon sellers won’t), then you have a few options on what to do next. The right option will depend on your business model.
1. Price the item impacted by the Prop 65 warning to sell ASAP in case Amazon decides to restrict or delete that ASIN from the Amazon catalog in the near future.
2. Reach out to the manufacturer, give them the product’s UPC, and ask them if the item has a Prop 65 warning and what it is. Keep any emails/records of that interaction on file just in case you need it in the future.
3. Open up a removal order to see for yourself if the item has the proper warning on the box, then follow up with the steps above in updating the listing with the proper information and send the item back to Amazon.
4. Do nothing and wait to see if other sellers update the warnings on the items in your inventory impacted by Prop 65.
5. Do nothing. Amazon states that if no warnings are updated, then they will assume that no warning is needed and the requirement for entering a Prop 65 warning will be removed from the listing. The only problem with this is that Amazon can, at any time, tighten their guidelines in order to better follow the state laws. So it’s still possible that the ASIN listing impacted by the Prop 65 warning will still become restricted or deleted from the Amazon catalog at any time.
Once an ASIN that needs a Prop 65 warning is updated with the correct information, a link to the warning will now be seen in the Product Details or Product Information section on an Amazon listing. Anyone interested in seeing the warning can click the link and either get the information they need (if the warning was updated) or a generic listing of all the possible warnings (if the warning has not been updated).
Here are a few more tips regarding the Prop 65 warning:
1. Don’t forget to search your inactive listings for the SKU potentially impacted by Prop 65.
2. If you do have inactive SKUs that are impacted and you don’t plan on stocking them again in the future, go ahead and delete the listing from your inventory.
3. If you don’t see California Proposition 65 Warning Type as an option on your Complete Your Drafts page, then it’s probable that you don’t have any items impacted by this warning.
4. If you’re not confident what to do, you could always open up a ticket with Seller Support and ask them for help. When contacting Seller Support, I always suggest contacting them via email so there is written proof of the response you get from them.
So, how do we move forward when it comes to sourcing inventory? How will we know what items are impacted by this warning moving forward? These are good questions, but the answers are not all that clear just yet. Overall, I know that the percentage of items impacted by this warning are incredibly small in comparison with the overall Amazon catalog. In fact, in my own inventory, only .03% of my items were impacted. Not 3%… but only .03%. I don’t know what percentage of items in your inventory were impacted, but I’m guessing, unless you’re a private label seller with only a few items for sale or a new seller with a small amount, your percentage is minimal too.
When it comes to sourcing, I would just move forward as usual. If you send in inventory that you later find out is subject to the Prop 65 warning, then respond appropriately. In my best guess, this requirement is not going to greatly impact most sellers in any way.
So what about you? Have you received a notification from Amazon about items that might be impacted by California’s Proposition 65? How have you responded? Will you change your sourcing strategies moving forward? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If this post was helpful to you, let me know in the comments.
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