According to ballot arguments in support of Proposition 65, the measure will restrict the release into drinking water sources of toxic substances thought to cause cancer or birth defects.
The governor will be required to prepare a list of such chemicals, initially estimated at more than 200.
Businesses will have to warn consumers and employees of exposure to listed substances, unless they can show that levels are low and present no significant risk.
Arguments for the proposition suggest that the present system for protecting the public is not working, largely because government must prove a danger exists before acting, and that, as a result, there is a large number of water supplies that are contaminated with toxics. Citizen suits would improve enforcement of anti-pollution laws, according to supporters.
Supporters of the measure include such environmental groups as the Sierra Club; the California District Attorneys Assn.; California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; California Parent Teacher Assn.; California Trial Lawyers Assn.; California National Organization for Women; Sen. Alan Cranston and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
Opponents include the California Chamber of Commerce; California Farm Bureau Assn.; California Manufacturers Assn.; California Medical Assn.; California Council for Environmental & Economic Balance; Chemical Industry Council of California; Assn. of California Water Agencies; Ed Zschau and Gov. George Deukmejian.