California’s Proposition 65 Warning
If you live in California, you’ve probably noticed this ominous warning posted at restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and even your children’s schools. You will probably start to see this warning now on some of your favorite supplements too.
Prop 65 reads (something along the lines of): California Proposition 65 WARNING: Consuming this product can expose you to chemicals that are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
Sounds kind of scary, right? While warnings like these are important for consumer awareness and education, sometimes the verbiage makes the product seem more dangerous than may be necessary. We want to walk you through the history of this warning, what it means to us as a company, and what we think you might like to know as our customer.
What is California’s Proposition 65?
Prop 65 is a right-to-know law. California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act passed in 1986. The State of California decided that consumers have a right to know what substances they are purchasing, using, or ingesting, especially if those substances have ever been associated with negative effects in a research study. As a clean manufacturer, we whole-heartedly agree with the consumer’s right to transparency.
However, there are now over 900 substances on the Prop 65 lists that are considered to have exposure risk for either cancer or birth defects.
A substance is considered a birth defect risk if it is detected at a level of 1000 times less (>0.001%) than the lowest amount that has been shown to be associated with observable effects. “Observable effects” may be from a study using either animal models or human subjects.
For example, if a rat consumes 1 gram of a substance and its offspring develop birth defects, the warning may be required on a product that contains 1 microgram of that substance.
The threshold level for a substance to be considered a cancer risk is if daily exposure for 70 years would statistically lead to 1 more case of cancer in 100,000 people. This level is generally much more conservative than what the FDA or American Cancer Society would recommend.
Prop 65 is simply a right-to-know law. The substances on this list are not banned for sale or consumption. The warning does not guarantee harm or indicate toxicity.
What are the challenges with Prop 65?
The substances on this list vary widely from natural to man-made chemicals, from heavy metals found in soil and fruit, to synthetic pesticides. This makes the warning labels somewhat ambiguous. For instance, you may be totally comfortable with the level of arsenic present naturally in your organic apple, lead found naturally in your organic collard greens, but uncomfortable with the level of bisphenol A lining your soup can.
If you’re frustrated by this concept, you’re not alone. There are many products that require warning labels even though their health benefits vastly outweigh the risks. Those who don’t know the meaning of the warning label may be scared away from purchasing something that could actually benefit their health.
Recently, acrylamide was added to the list. Acrylamide is found in coffee, and almost everything else cooked at a high temperature. Yes, now coffee comes with a Prop 65 warning if you’re in California, even though it is served almost everywhere and associated with numerous health benefits.
What does it mean if I see this warning on Metabolic Maintenance products?
Seeing this warning on your supplement is actually a good thing. It indicates that a manufacturer has gone above and beyond to have a final product tested by a third party before distribution. This process is not required legally, but is likely the point in production at which trace amounts of lead or cadmium would be detected.
Heavy metals come from the earth. As many of our raw ingredients are isolated from natural sources, they may contain trace levels of heavy metals or other compounds absorbed from the soil. If these levels are at or above the very conservative thresholds outlined by the Prop 65 guidelines, we will label the supplements appropriately.
One of Metabolic Maintenance’s distinctions from other supplement brands is the array of high-dose, effective potency products we offer. While Prop 65 labeling can be confusing to the customer, it is a necessary choice we have made in order to continue providing our customers with the high-potency supplements they enjoy.
With that said, every supplement produced by Metabolic Maintenance or MethylPro is safe to ingest, according to the U.S. Pharmacopeia guideline, at the dose recommended on the label.
We take pride in the stringent standards we have for the purity of our raw ingredients, the quality control system of manufacturing in our facility, and the third-party testing that we choose to employ. Again, this warning is not an indication of a supplement’s safety, but, in our case, an indication of responsible manufacturing and effective potency.