Denis Wick Products is now adding a warning label to all its mouthpieces in order to confirm with the Californian Proposition 65 regulations. Proposition 65, officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted as a ballot initiative in November 1986. The proposition protects the state’s drinking water sources from being contaminated with chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and requires businesses to inform Californians about exposures to such chemicals.
Proposition 65 requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. This warning is specific to residents in California that purchase products that may contain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. These warnings are placed on products in your household, restaurants, cinemas and elsewhere.
The Prop 65 warning does not mean that our products will actually cause harm. The State of California has clarified that “the fact that a product bears a Proposition 65 warning does not mean by itself that the product is unsafe.” Think of the law as a “Right to Know” rather than it being unsafe. For more information go to: https://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/background/p65plain.
The brass which is widely used in the musical instrument industry contains between 2% and 3% lead. The lead is there to make the brass ‘free turning’, that is to say, machinable. Without the lead content, brass becomes very difficult to cut. Hence its use is very long-established in the world of brass instruments.
We are confident and believe our products are safe and not harmful. Denis Wick Products Ltd. strives to comply with California State Safety Standards under Prop 65. We attach labels on all of our packaging for products that fall under the Prop 65 Warning.
Lead is dangerous to humans, and can be absorbed by prolonged contact with raw brass. In the past it was thought that the plating on brass mouthpieces offered complete protection from the lead in the mouthpiece, but tests have shown that very small quantities of lead can migrate through the plating over time. California discounts the use of plating as a protection against lead, so all tests are done on raw brass mouthpieces. Rates of absorption into the human body are extremely low, and when we tested the absorption rate using our mouthpieces, taking into account the surface area of the rim and the amount of contact time, our Proposition 65-approved testers showed that our mouthpieces were within the ‘safe harbour’ limits set by the State of California. We do not sell raw brass mouthpieces, which are used for the test. All our mouthpieces are sold with plating.
However, to be compliant with the law we will be labelling all mouthpieces with the lead warning. The formulation of our brass has not changed, and nor has our manufacturing methods or plating. Please see the website of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Protection for further information about Proposition 65.