Prop 65 (California)
At Variant Nutrition, we prioritize food safety and select quality ingredients from responsible food suppliers. It's important to recognize that natural minerals, such as lead and cadmium, are naturally present in all foods due to their occurrence in the Earth's crust. These minerals are absorbed by plants through their roots, resulting in trace amounts found in various food items, including fish, meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Notably, some supplements, like protein and fish oil, often (should) carry the Prop 65 warning.
Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and various health authorities have determined that the minute traces of these naturally occurring minerals in food do not pose public health risks or require warnings. The FDA, not the state, is responsible for monitoring cadmium and lead levels in food. We take food safety seriously, and your safety and informed choices matter to us.
Understanding Proposition 65
What is Proposition 65?
In 1986, Californian voters passed Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, as a measure to address concerns about toxic chemical exposure. Proposition 65 requires the State of California to maintain two lists of chemicals: one comprising chemicals known to pose a risk of causing cancer in animals or humans, and the other listing chemicals known to pose a risk of causing birth defects or other reproductive harm in animals or humans.
It's important to note that even if a chemical hasn't been proven to cause harm to humans, if it has been shown to be harmful in animal testing, it must be included in the relevant Proposition 65 list. These lists are updated annually and have grown to include over 800 chemicals since their inception in 1987.
Proposition 65 also mandates that any company doing business in California must notify Californian consumers about the presence of a Proposition 65-listed chemical in any product they offer for sale in the state. If a product sold in California might expose a resident to a specified minimum amount of one of these 800+ chemicals, it must include a warning notice. Importantly, Proposition 65 does not prohibit the sale of products containing these chemicals; it simply requires them to carry a "clear and reasonable" warning notice.
What is the Warning on the Product? WARNING: Consuming this product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/food.
Why Does the Product I’ve Bought Contain a Warning?
Products that carry a Proposition 65 warning are required to do so because they contain chemicals that the state of California has determined could cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm if consumers are exposed to these chemicals above a specific threshold set by California.
Are All States Affected by Proposition 65?
Proposition 65 exclusively applies within the state of California. Companies, whether located in California or not, that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer goods in California must adhere to Proposition 65's warning notice requirements. However, it's possible for a product intended for sale in California, featuring a Proposition 65 warning notice, to end up being offered in other states where Proposition 65 doesn't apply.
Are Products with a Proposition 65 Warning Notice Unsafe?
The presence of a Proposition 65 warning notice on a product doesn't automatically mean the product is unsafe. Rather, these notices are designed to inform Californian consumers about the presence of a listed chemical, allowing consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing these products. It's important to note that the exposure limits set by California for many of the chemicals on the Proposition 65 lists are often more stringent than the "safe" limits established by other regulatory agencies, providing an added layer of caution.
How Does Proposition 65 Determine the Threshold Levels for Which a Warning Notice Is Required?
Proposition 65 employs two criteria to establish the level of exposure risk. For cancer risk, the "no significant risk level" is set as the maximum daily exposure level resulting in no more than one additional case of cancer in 100,000 individuals exposed to the specific chemical daily for 70 years. Similarly, for chemicals that may lead to birth defects or reproductive harm, the threshold is determined by the "no observable effect level," which is the maximum daily exposure level demonstrated not to cause any birth defects or reproductive harm in laboratory animals or humans. As an additional safety margin, the "no observable effect level" is divided by 1,000 to establish the threshold requiring a Proposition 65 warning notice.
What About Similar Products with No Warning Labels?
The absence of a warning label on a product doesn't necessarily indicate that it is free of harmful chemicals or exempt from Proposition 65's warning requirement. Some products lacking warning labels might not be intended for sale in California, the only state where this labeling is obligatory. Additionally, companies may choose to label products only if they plan to sell them in California. Older products manufactured before the labeling requirement came into effect may also contain listed chemicals.
Where Can I Get More Information?
For additional information about the California Proposition 65 list of chemicals and FAQs, you can refer to the California regulatory OEHHA's website at https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65.
Remember, Proposition 65 serves to provide Californian consumers with information about potential chemical exposure and does not automatically imply that a product is unsafe. Your safety and informed choices matter to us.