2018 to Bring Major Changes to California’s Prop 65
Officially called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986,
Proposition 65 is a California state law that requires businesses to warn
consumers about certain chemicals found in products that may cause cancer,
birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
The law was overhauled in September 2016 by the California Office of
Environmental Health Hazard Assessment ( OEHHA ) and the adopted
amendments are set to take effect Aug. 30, 2018.
The changes to Prop 65 include a revised list of chemicals that
warrant warning labels and a redefined set of criteria for what
constitutes a “clear and reasonable” warning. Additionally,
there are new warning requirements for materials printed in
multiple languages. Warning labels are also required to be
posted at workplaces and businesses to warn workers and
citizens of possible exposure to hazardous chemicals.
Major changes with respect to the content and design of warning labels include
adding a yellow triangle with a black exclamation mark pictogram to the label,
the phrase “can expose you,” to the known chemical(s) present in the product,
and displaying the P65Warnings.ca.gov web address for more information.
Member Profile: Ray Lighting Centers
Using Social Media and Online Marketing
ALA member Ray Lighting Centers has
been in business for 78 years, serving
southeast Michigan with three lighting
showrooms. While the company still
utilizes traditional marketing, such as
radio and magazines, they have begun
focusing some of their efforts on
developing a stronger digital presence.
Recently, CEO Pete de Steiger and
Director of Showroom Operations
Michelle Edmonds spoke with ALA
about the company’s online and social
media marketing efforts
What is your goal in using social
media and digital marketing?
Edmonds: Across all of our marketing,
we are trying to develop a solid brand
and personality that positions our store as the go-to resource for lighting
solutions, with our ultimate goal to bring customers into our showrooms.
de Steiger: I think people come to us when they are shopping for lighting
because they need guidance. Even when people shop on our website and
contact us regarding fixtures, it is always helpful for them to be inside our
showroom. That’s our advantage. They can touch the products, see them in
person, get an idea of size and scope, and receive the answers to their questions
from trained lighting professionals.
Why do you feel a social media presence is important to
Edmonds: Social media is critical. The customer is changing. Everyone is using
multiple devices over multiple channels, and they are doing research online
before they even step foot on the showroom floor. We are fairly new to the social
media game, but the response has been good. Social media marketing is an
efficient way to expand our customer base.
When developing content online, we strive to provide solutions to what people
are searching for related to our company and products. The more interesting the
content, the more likely people are to share it, giving us a wider reach.
We use Facebook for articles, new product introductions, customer loyalty
specials, and coupons. We also plan to start using Facebook ads. However, I
believe Pinterest is the most useful social media platform for us. Pinterest use is
growing the fastest among women age 35 and over, which is our target market.
When someone is searching for something on Pinterest and finds our profile, we
know they are already actively looking for products we sell, or products related
to what we sell.
Has developing an online
presence been difficult? What
are some of the things you’ve
learned through the process?
Edmonds: I think the biggest mistake
people make marketing online is not
realizing that social media is primarily
for socializing and networking,
not necessarily for promotions.
Consumers don’t just want to hear
about Ray Lighting Centers, they
want to be part of a conversation, so
it’s really all about the content.
One thing we’ve learned about
Pinterest is that users are more likely
to share the content on our boards
if it’s not just about us, or even
our products. It is about sharing
information and inspiration. For instance, one of our boards may be titled
“Everything Mid-century Modern,” and it will contain everything related to
decorating a home in that style. The rule of thumb we use is to break down our
Pinterest content to be 20 percent about our company, and 80 percent about
other brands or ideas. So, on any particular board, users will find a lot of lighting
products linked back to our website, but we also include different rooms,
different ideas, and visuals of homes, all with the corresponding theme. People
are also constantly returning to our boards because we provide information on
putting an entire room together.
Managing an online presence is a lot of work. How do you keep
up with it all?
de Steiger: We hired an intern this summer who was with us for three months.
She has been assisting Michelle by laying the groundwork as we build our social
media platforms. That has been really helpful. There are too many details for one
person to cover everything and give it all adequate attention.
Has being a member of ALA helped with your business?
de Steiger: We appreciate the assistance ALA has provided us. ALA has a lot
of marketing and web resources, so we are taking advantage of that to try to
populate our website.
Edmonds: We used a lot of ALA’s video content when setting up our You Tube
platform. We took the videos and organized them into different categories.
Everything we put out online represents our company, so we need to ensure
the content we share is representative of who we are. ALA’s videos are produced
very professionally, so it is wonderful to have access to content like that.
A warning is necessary if there is a reasonable chance that a product contains
one of the more than 900 chemicals identified by OEHHA. Those responsible
for providing the warning include product manufacturers as well as any
business located within California.
Despite the compliance date being a year away, ALA members are urged
to take immediate action in order to avoid legal expenses from nearly
certain frivolous law suits. Bounty hunters are actively targeting
industries and products for Prop 65 violations. Even though there
are negatives to complying ( testing and labeling ), the costs to
comply outweigh the penalties, if found not in compliance.
The most common chemical identified in lighting-related
law suits is lead.
Penalties for violating Prop 65 are as high as $2,500 per
day, per violation. In 2015, the California Attorney General’s
office reached 582 settlements with businesses for Prop 65 violations and
assessed $26.2 million in penalties. For more information, members may visit