What's the deal with the "Prop 65" Warning?
“Why do some Fit Father Project products have a California Prop 65 warning on them?”
If you are on this page, it’s likely you saw a warning on one of our products, and you're now concerned for your safety.
That fear is quite understandable because if you live outside of the State of California (USA), you probably don’t know that these “Prop 65” warnings are found virtually everywhere in California, including Disneyland:
Most people living in California have come to view CA Prop 65 as "much do to about nothing," which is likely really disappointing for the well-intentioned voters who passed this law in 1986.
Let's break this issue down quickly.
“What is the California Proposition 65 (aka. Prop 65) anyway?”
Prop 65, officially known as “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986”, is a law that requires vendors selling products in California to warn consumers in California if a product contains certain chemicals.
“Which chemicals you may ask...?”
The State of California maintains a list of chemicals that the State of California has determined carry risk for birth defects or reproductive harm. This list includes over 800 chemicals.
Arsenic is one of those items on the list that triggers more Prop 65 label warnings than nearly anything else.
“What is Arsenic anyway?”
Arsenic is one of the most common metals found in the earth's soil, crust, and water. You may vaguely remember seeing it on the Periodic Table that you studied in high school chemistry. (See "Arsenic Fact Sheet" by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Therefore, due to Arsenic's nearly ubiquitous presence in nature, it's not surprising that trace amounts of Arsenic are found in virtually every product that comes from the earth (such as minerals, vegetables, fruits, herbs - including foods that come from the ocean like fish, kelp, etc.)
Here's where Prop 65 comes into play: if the amount of inorganic Arsenic found in any supplement's serving is higher than .100 PPM (Parts Per Million) -- which is the equivalent of 0.00001% of that serving -- California requires the Prop 65 warning on the label.
Wait... that's a really small amount right..?"
Yes. 0.00001% is a very small threshold for triggering the requirement of the Prop 65 label.
While Prop 65 was certainly well-intentioned -- who doesn’t want to limit their intake of these chemicals? -- critics argue that one of Prop 65’s major flaws is the “safety threshold” that triggers the placement of the Prop 65 warning on a product or place of business.
This part is important, so please read carefully.
According to The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), Prop 65 in Plain Language:
For chemicals [such as inorganic Arsenic], the “no observable effect level” is determined by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to NOT pose any harm to humans or laboratory animals. Proposition 65 requires this to be divided by 1,000 in order to provide an ample margin of safety. Businesses are required to provide a warning if they cause exposures to chemicals that exceed 1/1000th of the “no observable effect level.”
In other words, if scientific literature shows that exposure to 100 PPM (Parts Per Million) of inorganic Arsenic per day is safe (ie. has “no observable effect”), then just to be extra cautious, they added in a 1/1,000 margin of error.
Yes, you read that right.
Therefore, if a product contains more than .100 PPM per daily serving (1/1000th of the "no observable effect" threshold), California makes businesses like us who use minerals and herbs that come from the Earth add this scary Prop 65 warning on our packaging.
And if you don’t have the warning, they sue you.
Various critics (obviously) complain that 1) the 1/1,000 safety margin was created arbitrarily, without scientific basis, and 2) it is now so low that it has led to Prop 65 warning signs to be placed virtually everywhere in California, including Disneyland.
Secondly, California unintentionally created what website Prop 65 Scam best describes as a “National Burden.” Because of the logistical complexity and cost of trying to create separate inventory only to be sold in California (or risk being sued), consumers outside of California are now freaking out when they see the Prop 65 label, meanwhile, everyone inside of California could care less because they see the label virtually everywhere.
Here are two other strange things about CA Prop 65 that are worth mentioning:
- If your company has less than 10 employees, you do not have to put a Prop 65 label on your product, regardless of what chemicals are in your products.
- If the daily serving size of your product is four tablets, and four tablets contains .200 PPM of inorganic arsenic -- remember, the threshold is no more than .100 PPM per day -- then you could arbitrarily change the daily serving size from 4 tablets to 1 tablet, effectively lowering the daily dose of inorganic arsenic from .200 PPM to .050 PPM, and then you don’t have to put a Prop 65 warning on the label.
“Do other Dietary Supplements have a similar issue?”
Yes. Nearly all supplement companies are facing the Prop 65 issue. To quote fellow dietary supplement company, Designs For Health (Prop 65 Statement):
This issue affects all companies that make nutritional [dietary] supplements. The fact that some companies selling in California are not adding warning labels to their products does not mean their products are free of lead [or arsenic, etc.] Some companies may not be aware of the law; some have apparently chosen not to comply; still others have been sued or are currently in litigation with the state of California regarding their failure to comply with the law.
The Fit Father Project stands alongside other popular dietary supplement companies -- Thorne Research (Prop 65 Statement), NOW Foods (Prop 65 Statement), Seeking Health (Prop 65 Statement), Douglas Labs (Prop 65 Statement), Jarrow Formulas (Prop 65 Statement), American BioSciences (Prop 65 Statement), and many, many others -- in complying with CA Prop 65.
If you're interested, here are some external Links where you can learn more about Prop 65:
- Official Prop 65 website: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
- The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA): Prop 65 in Plain Language
- Consumer Labs: My product has a Prop 65 warning on it, what should I do?
- Authority Nutrition: Arsenic in Rice
- Consumer Law Blog: The Mysterious World of Prop 65
- Chemistry World: Prop 65 Controversy
- LA Times: Are Proposition 65 warnings healthful or hurtful?
- University of Washington: Arsenic found in many U.S. red wines, but health risks depend on total diet
- Prop 65 Scam: National Burden