I am concerned that some Dramm products carry this warning.

Dramm Corporation applauds your effort in taking the additional step of inquiring why some of our products carry the Prop-65 warning label.

Dramm is dedicated to making the highest quality products which will deliver the best functionality.  Some of these products may contain trace amounts of chemical compounds which are included in California’s Proposition 65 list.  In particular, many Dramm products contain parts which are composed entirely of brass or require some brass components because we have concluded it provides the best combination of durable quality and functionality for these products.  It is our opinion that the standard use of our brass products poses no significant harm to individuals, animals, or the environment in general.

The State of California’s Proposition 65 requires products containing harmful chemicals (elements, compounds, etc.) to post a warning on the packaging of these products.  Since brass contains a small proportion of lead, products made with brass fall into this category.

We hope you find the following information helpful in determining whether you believe our products made from brass are safe to use at your home.

Brass is a compound made primarily from copper and zinc but which also contains small proportions of other elemental metals, including lead.  Typically, the lead content of brass is between three and four percent (3 to 4%).  Nearly all brass products or components sold to consumers, from keys, to doorknobs to pipe-fittings, are made from brass with this composition.  See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass

California’s Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment determines the exposure levels for all the chemicals it has determined are hazardous to consumers health.

❝ For chemicals that are listed as causing cancer, the “no significant risk level” is defined as the level of exposure that would result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed to the chemical over a 70-year lifetime. In other words, a person exposed to the chemical at the “no significant risk level” for 70 years would not have more than a “one in 100,000” chance of developing cancer as a result of that exposure.

For chemicals that are listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm, the “no observable effect level” is determined by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to not pose any harm to humans or laboratory animals. Proposition 65 then requires this “no observable effect level” to be divided by 1,000 in order to provide an ample margin of safety. Businesses subject to Proposition 65 are required to provide a warning if they cause exposures to chemicals listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm that exceed 1/1000th of the “no observable effect level.”

Source: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/general-info/proposition-65-plain-language 

As a result, a product could be made of brass and meet the standard of having “no observable effect level” regarding possible harm to humans or lab animals and yet it would still have to prove that its lead content level was 1,000-times lower than that level.  This is criteria which is essentially impossible to prove and therefore the only reasonable action a manufacturer can take is to place the Proposition 65 warning on its labels. 

Technically, a product made from brass or any other material containing a harmful chemical is not required to carry this warning if it does not breach certain maximum exposure limits but it is either impossible to test for this limits within a reasonable conclusion or it is prohibitively expensive to do so.  As such, essentially any product made from brass or containing brass components must provide a Proposition 65 warning on its label or run the risk of being sued in the State of California.  These suits are overwhelming brought against manufacturers and retailers by private individuals on behalf of private sector attorneys or law firms:

❝ Most of the Proposition 65 complaints are filed on behalf of straw man plaintiffs by private attorneys, some of whose businesses are built entirely on filing Proposition 65 lawsuits.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_65_(1986)

Most of these lawsuits are concluded in settlements but even those can carry significant costs and force businesses to file for bankruptcy.   

Additional Resources:

State of California Prop About Proposition 65

State of California Prop 65 FAQs

The mysterious world of Prop 65, part 8: Acceptable risk levels


How Did California’s Prop 65 Law Go So Wrong?

Frame Chewers Beware

California Judge Rules Coffee Must Carry Cancer Warning