You may have noticed this warning label on some of your Seeking Health products:
At first glance, this label can seem extremely alarming and you may be wondering…
What is California Proposition 65 (Prop 65)?
California Proposition 65 is also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 and was enacted as a ballot initiative in November of 1986.
This proposition requires the Governor of California to publish a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity annually (or as needed). Products containing levels of these chemicals or substances at higher amounts than allowed in the state of California must include a warning to consumers.
This is the quintessential law when it comes to potential risk for cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm.
However, a CAL PROP warning label is not equivalent to cancer or reproductive harm.
California Prop 65 uses the “no observable effect level” to determine the amount at which each chemical on the Prop 65 list can be present in a daily serving of a given product without a warning of its potential to “cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Products containing chemicals on the Prop 65 list at amounts higher than the “no observable effect level” must include the warning pictured above.
But how is the “no observable effect level” established?
California Prop 65 defines the “no observable effect level” of a chemical on the Prop 65 list as “the level of exposure that has been shown to not pose any harm to humans or laboratory animals,” divided by 1000 to provide an additional margin of safety.
Similarly, California Prop 65 requires products to bear a warning of their potential to cause cancer if they contain levels of chemicals in amounts greater than the “no significant risk level”, or “the level of exposure that would result in not more than one excess case of cancer in 1000,000 individuals exposed to the chemical over a 70-year lifetime.”
As stated by the American Cancer Society, “Not every compound labeled as a possible cancer causing substance has been proven to the worldwide scientific community to actually cause cancer.”
These definitions of “no observable effect level” and “no significant risk level” demonstrate the highly conservative nature of the California Prop 65 legislation. They establish very low exposure thresholds for many compounds based on the possibility that they might pose a risk to some people – even when such a risk may have only been demonstrated at 1000 times the levels present in a given product!
What safety standards are in place outside of CAL PROP 65?
On a national level, there are standards set forth for safe amounts of these chemicals or substances by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. California’s levels for many of the chemicals covered under Prop 65 are more stringent than the limits suggested by other regulatory agencies. The intention of Prop 65 is to provide information that might help lead consumers to make informed decisions about the goods they purchase, not to declare that a product is certainly unsafe for all consumers (though the required language of the Prop 65 warnings can be quite intimidating).
Maximum Tolerable Intake Levels of Lead and Cadmium
|Prop 65||Center For Disease Control||Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry||Environmental Protection Agency||United States FDA|
|Lead||0.5 mcg/day||-||-||28.5 mcg/day in drinking water*||75 mcg/day|
|Cadmium||4.1 mcg/day||6.8 mcg/day for a 150 lb. adult||6.8 mcg/day for a 150 lb. adult||9.5 mcg/day for a drinking water*||9.4 mcg/day in drinking water*|
*These totals are based upon eight, 8-ounce servings of water per day for an average adult
All of Seeking Health products meet or exceed the national requirements.
What chemicals listed in Prop 65 are in my product?
Generally, if a Seeking Health product contains this warning label it is due to lead or cadmium content exceeding the following amounts as set forth by Prop 65:
Cadmium: <4.1 mcg/day
Lead: <0.5 mcg/day
Why is CAL PROP 65 on my Seeking Health product?
Certain minerals, plant proteins, and other ingredients used in dietary supplements naturally contain lead or cadmium. These metals can be taken up from the soil or surrounding environment. Certain minerals can also contribute to lead or cadmium levels due to their mining proximity. Seeking Health does not add any lead or cadmium to any product.
The amount of a PROP 65 chemical used to determine whether a product is below California’s Prop 65 thresholds is the amount in a day’s suggested serving size. It is possible for some supplement companies to avoid having to display the warning by decreasing the suggested serving size and/or daily suggested use, however this may leave the formula lacking in nutrient content when used as directed.
The CAL PROP 65 warning label is required for any product that may be sold to the state of California. Like most ecommerce-based companies, Seeking Health distributes product all over the USA – and the world. To ensure that all customers are able to make an informed decision about their purchases, all bottles of Seeking Health product requiring the CAL PROP warning are labeled as though they may be sold in California. Even if you do not reside in the state of California, you may find the label on your product.
Is my product safe to take?
Prop 65 is intended to provide consumers with the information they need to make an informed decision. A Prop 65 warning does not necessarily mean that a product is in violation of national safety standards or requirements.
Many factors determine level of safety and risk such as:
- Type of contact
- Other chemicals you are exposed to
- Family traits
- State of health
What can be misleading about the CAL PROP 65 warning label is that people assume that harmful compounds are added to a product which is not the case, at least not with Seeking Health. It is important to remember that Prop 65 was enacted to enable California residents to make informed decisions about the products they consume – not to declare any product categorically unsafe or to “scare” anyone away from products displaying the warnings. It is up to you, as a responsible and informed consumer, whether or not to purchase or use the product. Seeking Health will always reach for obtaining quality and purity to ensure the safety and health of our customers.
Certificates of Analysis are available upon request for any Seeking Health product.
How can I find out more about Prop 65?
For more information about Prop 65, visit the California Government’s FAQ Page.
- Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Dec; 118(12): A528–A534.
- Nawrot TS, et al. BioMetals. 2010;23(5):769–782.