The state of California has a list of chemicals it knows to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Exposure to any chemical on this list is governed by a law is known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, or Proposition 65. Since Prop 65's beginning, the list has continuously expanded and today contains over 900 substances. The law requires that if a product sold in California contains any detectable amount of a substance on the list, a warning label must accompany the product.
Prop 65 sounds like it provides consumers with the pertinent information they need to make well-informed decisions, and actually, on some levels, it does. It would have been nice to have that same privilege with regard to foods that contain GMO's and Prop 37 but that's a separate matter. Regardless, it needs to be understood exactly what Prop 65 does and does not do. Prop 65 doesn't ban anything or make comment about chemical concentrations. Prop 65 simply governs exposure to the chemicals on the list and requires a warning when they are present and has very strict standards that define what "present" means.
Prop 65 Chemicals Occur Naturally
It gets a little weird, however, because many fruits, vegetables, and even drinking water naturally contain some levels of the substances governed by Prop 65. In many cases, the exposure levels governed by Prop 65 are less than what occurs naturally. Turnips, apples, artichokes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, and spinach are just a few foods that deliver chemical exposures in excess of Prop 65 limits. How does this happen? Lead, for example, is found in natural proteins, plants, and minerals. Not a lot, but a measurable amount because plants absorb metals and other trace chemicals from the soil in which they're grown. Detectable levels don't require that the plant was grown in dirty, polluted soil. The amount of lead naturally found in many fruits and vegetables grown in clean, uncontaminated soil may, and probably does, exceed Prop 65 limits. When the State of California conducted a soil-lead-uptake analysis of its own soil, from 70 different locations, they found that most vegetables averaged four times the Prop 65 lead limits.
However, you won't see Prop 65 warning labels on those foods because food producers are not required to provide Prop 65 warnings.
What's Wrong With Prop 65?
Prop 65 lacks clear guidelines on how the warning-label exception for food applies to nutritional supplements that contain those foods. Unfortunately, this has meant that opportunistic, ambulance chasing attorneys are polluting the legal system by filing expensive, misplaced legal proceedings that completely pervert the intent of Prop 65.
An Unfortunate Misuse of Prop 65 in Action
You may have noticed that Sunwarrior products are currently not available on our website, specifically the brown rice protein and Ormus Supergreens. Their removal is a shame, because Sunwarrior produces excellent products and all of them are within FDA suggested guidelines for chemicals listed by Prop 65. There's no question about it, Sunwarrior's products are safe to consume. Sunwarrior believes any occurrences of chemicals listed by Prop 65 in their products should be exempt under the "naturally occurring allowance" exception and we at Global Healing agree with them. However, until this exception is more clearly answered by the State of California, we're unable to offer their fine products.
Other Perspectives on Prop 65
For Sunwarrior's position on the matter, visit: Sunwarrior Notices
Prop 65 has affected others, check out this article about a whole-grain wheat bread producer required to provide Prop 65 warnings while French-fry producers are not: Proposition 65 and its effect on California business
Many arguments have been made that Prop 65's approach is ineffective, view them: California's Proposition 65 unlikely to improve public health, study finds
An up-to-date list of the governed chemicals and additional Prop 65 information are available at: OEHHA
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.