California law contains what is known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also referred to as Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”). Prop 65 is a unique California only “right to know” law that requires products sold in California to bear warning notices about potential exposure to any of the over 800 substances listed by the state. As a practical matter, Prop 65 warnings may be required for any product (food or non-food) that exposes an individual in California to any chemical listed under the law.
Prop 65 does not ban any products from sale in California; it simply requires warnings about the listed chemical contained in the product. No other state has a law similar to Prop 65, which requires warnings for listed chemicals contained in products at levels that are far below those that are regulated by the FDA or other federal law. For example, Prop 65 requires a reproductive harm warning at 1000 times below the level at which reproductive harm is actually observed. Likewise, a cancer warning is required if a listed chemical contained in a product elevates the risk of cancer by greater than 1 in 100,000. Lawsuits to enforce Prop 65 against manufacturers may be instituted by the State of California, or much more frequently by private “bounty hunters” and their attorneys who profit from the law.
Recently, the dietary supplement industry has been subject to aggressive enforcement by private Prop 65 bounty hunters over alleged lead and other heavy metals contained in various supplement products. Lead is a naturally occurring element that is found throughout the entire environment, including in soils where it can be taken up by natural plants and herbs. Many plants, plant extracts, and minerals used in dietary supplement products contain some level of lead, a chemical listed under Prop 65. Detectable lead can also be found in a variety of food products that are generally considered part of a healthy diet, including fruit juice, seaweed, ginger and chocolate, all of which have also been the subject of Prop 65 enforcement.
Detectable lead can be found in some of even the most carefully selected and sourced ingredients contained in HealthForce supplements. None of these elements are added by HealthForce SuperFoods®, who follows good manufacturing practices to eliminate contamination.
As a business decision, HealthForce SuperFoods® has chosen to provide Prop 65 warnings rather than engage in a long and expensive/cost-prohibitive legal battle to prove in court that any listed chemicals contained in its supplements are naturally occurring or do not cause an exposure requiring a warning under the law.
You should also be aware that the Governor of California has recently proposed reforms to end abusive Prop 65 lawsuits. To learn more about these efforts, please visit the following link: http://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18026