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The Prop 65 warning signs in California are as ubiquitous as morning traffic – you see them on everything from elevators to produce sections to toys (!) and even in coffee shops.
Some are legitimate due to the true presence of chemicals from cigarettes or fuel, but many found on produce and natural health supplements are unfortunately necessary in order to avoid lawsuits. The vast majority of the products themselves are still as clean and safe as ever.
Proposition 65 (formally titled “The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986″) is a California law that regulates substances officially listed by California (currently the list is at 800+ substances: http://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/proposition-65//p65single05202016.pdf) as causing cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm in two ways:
Enforcement is carried out through civil lawsuits against Proposition 65 violators, regardless of the source (i.e. naturally occurring) of these contaminants. The best solution for a business to protect itself is to add the following warning language to products/areas of potential concern: “WARNING: This product/area contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm”.
Nearly all foods contain certain levels of one or more of the following Prop 65 substances: arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Ironically, the amounts established by Proposition 65 can be less than what occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. Researchers have reported levels of heavy metals, pesticides and other environmental chemicals in a wide variety of otherwise healthy foods, including, but not limited to – alfalfa, artichokes, apples, cocoa, corn, carrots, cinnamon, coffee, cucumbers, oranges, potatoes, pears, plums, parsnips, parsley, peppers, mangos, mushrooms, mustard, shrimp, various spices, spinach, turnips, yams, and most whole grains. The levels in California-grown produce average 4 times the Prop 65 limit, and for some produce the per cup levels are over 50 times the allowable Prop 65 limit.1-3 Therefore, a warning label could technically be placed on most items in the grocery produce section and beyond. The issue is, however, a political one, with a bias toward agriculture – i.e. produce (e.g. an apple) is not mandated to have warning labels placed on it, yet when an apple is placed in a capsule and sold it now requires a warning label.
While it is important to pay attention to all product warnings, the standards for Prop 65 warnings are often very strict, and are based on very low levels of exposure. This means they could be applicable to products exhibiting levels thousands of times lower than the lowest amount indicated to cause any potential harm. Prop 65 does hold businesses and manufacturers accountable for knowingly adding hazardous materials to their products, but it can be problematic for Natural Health Product manufacturers. Despite the safety and purity of Genuine Health products, Prop 65 requires a label on any product (not just food) that has traces of certain chemicals and heavy metals. Almost all grown food has some amount of heavy metals as they are naturally occurring in soil. While obliged to label in accordance to Prop 65 regulations, a warning on a Natural Health Product does not automatically mean that the product is unsafe or harmful, especially when subjected to thorough safety testing.
Genuine Health holds quality and safety to the utmost concern, and to this end we use only the highest quality ingredients and conduct rigorous testing to protect your health. Not only do all of our supplements meet FDA requirements, but they are also approved by Health Canada which has far stringent requirements. For example, the FDA has no established limits for heavy metals. In contrast, Health Canada specifies maximum limits for each of the 4 heavy metals individually (Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury) based on mcg per kilogram of body weight. We follow Health Canada standards for all of our products, including those sold in the US.
This includes Genuine Health’s Vegan proteins+, fermented Vegan proteins+ and fermented Vegan proteins+ bars. The high quality, non-GMO vegan protein in our Vegan proteins+ are all sourced from plant materials that hold the same potential for picking up heavy metals from the soil just as the fruit and vegetables above do. This is a natural occurrence, and the levels are safe as recognized by other government bodies (including Health Canada). Not only are these products extremely safe, they are based on the same plants and ingredients you are consuming in non-supplemental form (rice, potatoes, peas etc.) every day.
Why is the warning label found on fermented Vegan proteins+ bars outside the State of California? Our bars ship all over the country including California. There is no easy way at this moment to separate a LOT of bars to ship to California only. With the rise of online sales the likelihood is that bars will make it to California. Therefore Genuine Health will be labeling all fermented vegan protein+ bars with the following: “WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm”.
Are fermented vegan proteins+ bars safe? Yes! They are not only safe, but as above, they are based on the same plants and ingredients you are consuming in non-supplemental form (rice, peas, hemp etc.) every day. Any similar product with a similar formula and dosage would also have levels over Prop 65 limits so don’t let the lack of a warning label fool you.
Please know that at Genuine Health quality and safety are of utmost concern, and to this end we use only the highest quality ingredients and conduct rigorous testing to protect your health.
Thank you for your understanding and comments or questions are welcome. For further reading on this subject, this article may be of interest: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Regulation/Prop-65-is-turning-into-legalized-blackmail-warn-experts-as-notices-pile-up.
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