What is Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 is the requirement of businesses to provide warnings about exposure to toxic chemicals that may cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Californians are able to purchase products containing these chemicals in their homes or workplaces. So, Prop 65 allows Californians to make informed decisions regarding the purchases they make and chemicals they are exposed to.
Prop 65 also includes the prohibition of California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water. Additionally, it requires California publishes a list of known chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.This list is updated once a year.
This law has become effective as of November 1986. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the lead agency for implementing, adopting, and modifying Proposition 65.
What types of chemicals are listed on Prop 65?
The list has a wide range of natural and synthetic chemicals. The range can go from additives or ingredients in products like pesticide or common household items.
I see a warning on my product, what does that mean?
A Prop 65 warning is a warning that there may be an ingredient or additive within the product that is on the Proposition 65 list. Unless, the exposure is low enough to not pose any significant risks, manufacturers must provide proper warning.
Although a Prop 65 warning indicates a chemical in your product is on the list, this doesn’t directly mean the product is toxic. In fact, many products that contain a Prop 65 chemical at a safe level - known as a “Safe Harbor Level”- still display the warning.
However, the list is so large, that a large portion of the list does not have an established Safe Harbor Level. If any of these chemicals are present in a product, even if barely detectable, then it is required that manufacturers put a warning on the label.
So no warning means I’m in the clear?
Not necessarily. Smaller companies aren’t held to the same standard as larger ones. So a lack of a warning label could mean lack of testing. If you have any concerns or questions, be sure to inquire with the manufacturer.
What does “Known to the State of California to cause [cancer] [birth defects or other reproductive harm]” mean?
This phrase is indicating chemicals that are used in a product have been listed by one of four listing mechanisms.
- Labor Code
- These are chemicals added to the list that have been identified by IARC as causing cancer in humans or animals.
- State’s Qualified Experts
- In this scenario, either two independent committees of expert scientists and health professionals (the Carcinogen Identification Committee-CIC and the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee-DARTIC) have identified a chemical of causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.
- Authoritative Bodies
- The following organizations have been designated by the CIC and DARTIC as "authoritative bodies” the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
- Formally Required to be Labeled
- If an agency of the state or federal government requires a chemical be labeled or identified as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm, it will be added to the list.
Keep in mind, cancer or health risk claims are not black and white and most of these studies were done with animals, not humans.
What are some examples of chemicals on the list?
In contrast to what many consumers think, it’s not just uncommon chemicals on the list. In fact, you’ll see some things on the list you may have in your pantries right now.
For example, alcoholic beverages has made it to the list, aloe vera, heavy metals, and even aspirin.
Even products like fish oil and your regular whey protein may display the Prop 65 warning. The reason being that they’re made of ingredients commonly vulnerable to Prop 65. Not necessarily because these products are prone to toxicity.
Another example of a required list chemical is lead. Lead is also naturally existing in many parts of the world and environment. The Prop 65 limit of lead is 0.5 mcg/day. Consequently, this daily allowance is much lower than the amount found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This limit is about 1000 times lower than the highest level of lead known to not cause reproductive harm. So, to put it in perspective:
Where Prop 65 allows for 0.5 mcg/day of lead the following limits are:
250 mcg / day European Union / FAO / WHO
75 mcg / day US FDA
20 mcg / day AHPA – Canada’s Natural Health Directorate
Therefore it’s important to understand Prop 65 does not present information about the safety or the risk of any products, nor does it ban products. It simply provides warning of the presence of a listed chemical. At the end of the day, the FDA is the final authority on food, drug, and beauty safety.
SameDaySupplements.com does not object to compliance with Prop 65, despite its position that the required labels are misleading rather than informative. SameDaySupplements.com is an online retailer of hundreds of different supplement brands. SameDaySupplemens.com does not manufacture any of the dietary supplements sold on our website. Proposition 65 Warnings listed on our website are based on instruction from each products manufacturer.