Proposition 65

Background

In 1986, the State of California adopted the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65), which applies not only to water quality, but also to consumer goods sold to the California public. Prop 65 requires the State of California to publish and maintain a list of over 850 chemicals, known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The most recent list of chemicals is available at: http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q) What does Prop 65 mean?
A) Prop 65 means that any product or good that contains substances known to the State of California, requires an additional warning if being sold to the California public.

Proposition 65 regulates substances officially listed by California as having a 1 in 100,000 chance of causing cancer over a 70-year period or birth defects or other reproductive harm in two ways.

1)     The first statutory requirement of Proposition 65 prohibits businesses from knowingly discharging listed substances into drinking water sources, or onto land where the substances can pass into drinking water sources.

2)     The second prohibits businesses from knowingly exposing individuals to listed substances without providing a clear and reasonable warning.

The list contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm when exposure thresholds are met. These chemicals include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents. Listed chemicals may also be used in manufacturing and construction,or they may be byproducts of chemical processes, such as motor vehicle exhaust.

Californians are no stranger to these warnings, as they are posted in hotels, gas stations, and coffee shops and are found on many products they encounter on a daily basis.

For more information about proposition 65, please visit the State of California’s website by clicking here.

Q) Are Prop 65 items made of poor quality?
A) Many of the substances on the Prop 65 list are naturally occurring in the environment. Therefore, it is possible for a natural supplement to have naturally occurring traces of these substances. Each vendor still undergoes their strict quality testing to ensure a quality product.

Q) Should I be concerned?
A) We should all be concerned about our cumulative exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment and their impact on our health. Proposition 65 endeavors to make Californians aware of exposures that have the potential to impact their health.

Q) What types of substances exist in dietary supplements that fall under Prop 65?
A) One example of a nutrient possibly requiring labeling if above a certain dosage is vitamin A (retinol/retintyl esters). Additionally, many plant-based foods, even when grown organically, can contain lead and mercury due to absorbing low amounts that are naturally occurring in soil.

For the complete list of substances which fall under Proposition 65, please here.

Q) Are dietary supplements labeled with the Prop 65 warning unsafe?
A) A Prop 65 warning does not mean that the use of an individual product will cause cancer or reproductive harm when used as directed.   There continues much debate over what a toxic level or a cumulative toxic level of each different substance is.  An example, for reproductive toxins the stated level requiring a warning label is 1000 time slower than the lowest level at which animal studies reported no reproductive health effect.  At this dose, the risk of harm may be very low, yet a product still requires the Prop 65 warning.

Another example of this is lead.  The proposition 65 limit for lead is 0.5 mcg per day.  The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe limit for lead in drinking water is 15 mcg/L per day.  To help with perspective on how some of the standards set by Proposition 65 are extremely low, many foods contain naturally-occurring lead from the soil it was grown in.  One ounce of dark chocolate can contain about 0.6 mcg of lead, which would exceed the safe limit of lead by Prop 65 standards.  

Good quality supplement manufacturers take every precaution possible to ensure a safe product.  At Pure and Balanced, we are confident that the brands we carry care deeply about delivering products that are not only safe, but beneficial to patient health.  If you see the Prop 65 warning on a product, it demonstrates that that company is compliant with the law—which is really a very good sign.

Q) Does Prop 65 pertain only to California?
A) Yes. Prop 65 pertains only to goods sold to the California public. However, some manufacturers include these labels on all of their products as a safeguard and to ensure that their California customers see these warnings.

Q) Does Prop 65 only pertain to Vitamins and Natural Supplements?
A) No. Prop 65 pertains to many other items such as toys, ink, jewelry, and other personal care products. It even pertains to certain environmental exposures in certain areas.

Here is an example of what a Prop 65 warning label would look like:

Prop 65 Label

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