Proposition 65 Explained
Why is there a warning message for California residents?
Not to worry! This message is only present because it is required by California law. Please read forward to understand why you can safely consume all our products and to understand the law responsible for this, California Proposition 65.
What are some items that display Prop 65 warnings?
If you haven't been in California and you're not used to seeing these warnings they can seem scary. Californians are so used to them that the warnings are almost invisible. Here's a short list of items with California warnings: Coffee, Chocolate, House Plants, Disneyland and Cell Phones.
What is Proposition 65?
In 1986, California prop 65 was voted in with the intent of allowing California residents to know which cancer causing chemicals they were exposing themselves to. A list of chemicals has been established, and new compounds are regularly added to the list. From 30 chemicals listed at its creation in 1986, the list has grown to over 800 chemical elements and compounds.
For some chemicals, there a “safe harbor” limit: if the item (food) contains less than the limit, it does not require a warning. For all other compounds, the mere presence of the chemical in the item causes it to bear a warning with the following wording: WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harms.
How have the “safe limits” been established?
For chemicals linked to cancers, the limit has been established so that out of 100,000 people being exposed to this level of contaminant daily over the course of 70 years, only one of them would develop a cancer.
For compounds linked to birth defects and reproductive harm, scientists have established a limit that has not been shown to have any effects on laboratory animals or humans, the “no observable limit”. For further safety, they have divided this limit by 1000. A product containing more than 1/1000th of the “no observable effect” limit is required to bear a warning label. Take the following graphs for example.
Why does this law not make sense?
Although the intent was initially to protect California residents from drinking water contaminating industries, there is a loophole that allows individuals to sue manufacturers if they find products to be in violation of California Proposition 65 under the pretense that it is in “the public interest”. The fines incurred by the manufacturers are enormous(up the $ 2,500 per violation, i.e. product sold in California), and have allowed for-profit law firms to earn/collect/poach over $35 million in settlements in 2018, the vast majority of the money going to attorney fees. The number of these lawsuits has increased considerably in recent years.
What does that mean for my HealthSmart Foods product?
Is it safe to consume? Yes, according to FDA all our ingredients are Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) and are considered safe in all other states.
The reason most food products carry a warning label is that it contains small amounts of heavy metals: Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury. Heavy metals are found naturally in the environment. When agricultural products are grown in soil containing heavy metals, the product, be it spinach, avocados or cocoa beans, will absorb trace amounts of it, and as a result, will contain heavy metals. These are considered “naturally occurring” heavy metals. There is no way to remove the existing minute amounts of heavy metals from products that originate from plants grown outside. The warning statements on our products are only there to respect California law. Our products are all well below daily recommendations established by other international health organizations, such as the EPA, WHO or the FDA.