California Residents: Prop 65 warning
About Proposition 65
What is California Proposition 65?“Prop 65” is a work of legislation approved by California voters in November of 1986. AKA the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. The original purpose of the law was to prevent the dumping of toxic chemicals in waterways. At the time, the list of known or suspected carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and reproductive toxins identified by the State of California numbered about three dozen. Today, this list, which is updated annually by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), contains more than 800 chemical substances.
So, is this product dangerous? No. However, although the intent of the warning label is to protect consumers, it does little to inform them. In other words, the law requires the inclusion of this label even though it says nothing about the actual safety of the product itself or what, if any, harmful substance is present and in what amount. In addition, the “safe harbor” of acceptable levels for certain substances set forth in Proposition 65 are often significantly lower than federal or international standards. Not only are these levels nearly impossible to detect with routine testing, but their inclusion is usually the result of naturally occurring processes.
Our Thoughts. Although the spirit of the law is meant to help ensure public safety, the way it is currently implemented undermines consumer confidence and makes companies in the natural products industry—even farmers and wild crafters—responsible for environmental pollutants caused by other, less regulated industries. It also places the burden of proof relating to the safety of any product on companies who are forced to demonstrate that a warning label is not necessary. Finally, because enforcement of Prop 65 is conducted via civil litigation, the law, as written, triggers frivolous lawsuits that are difficult, if not impossible, to defend against.
If you’re a resident of California, tell your legislators that the FDA already has a handle on regulating your dietary supplements and that Prop 65 is more harmful than helpful. Find your legislator on the California State Legislation Directory.