Manufacturers and merchants are now going for the burn in California. Environmentalists, led by Jane Fonda, have managed to pass a law obliging companies to warn customers if their products can cause cancer or birth defects. Although California governor George Deukmejian has attempted to gut the law by exempting most of the key classes of products namely, foods, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides he has been overruled by a California Superior Court judge.
The law, called Proposition 65, now requires companies to prove that the hazards of a particular product are trivial or to warn the public about it. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, an activist organization, the law has resulted in standards for twice the number of chemicals than have been regulated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in the last l2 years.