Proposition or Prop 65, as it is commonly known, is a legislation that has been in place for 30 years now. Passed by California citizens in 1986, Prop 65 is known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxin Enforcement Act.
While it may not seem obvious, this act also plays an important role in supplement regulation and is yet another important area you need to consider when planning and purchasing your supplement regime. Here’s what you need to know about Prop 65.
This law requires all products distributed within the state of California to publish 2 lists of chemicals showing any substances or ingredients linked to increased cancer risk in both animals or humans. These two lists are updated annually. There are now more than 800 chemicals listed, some of which may be in your supplements. In addition, the other list must also state any chemicals that, in a similar fashion, have been linked to increased risk of birth defects or other reproductive issues.
Importantly, these products must be listed even if the current research has only been shown in animals. While this may initially sound odd, most of the current research highlighting cause and effect in cancer has been conducted in animals, but one day will be continued in humans. Without animal research, we would not be able to test or study cancer to the current research levels and would likely only know a fraction of what we do today.
Listed chemicals that fall under Proposition 65 include ingredients found in pesticides, insecticides, and construction/manufacturing materials, as well as ingredients in common household products like foods, supplements, drugs, and alcoholic beverages.
More specifically for supplements, certain chemicals and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic are naturally found in the environment and also fall into Proposition 65. The issue for you, the consumer, is that, unless it was manufactured or distributed in California, then the supplement company isn’t required (and likely won’t) conform to Prop 65.
The Dangers of Proposition 65
The idea of Prop 65 is to highlight potential dangers from excessive, prolonged over consumption. In other words, taking 30 servings of a supplement once in your life which has a Prop 65 warning isn’t necessarily going to cause illness or ill health.
However, that being said, taking that supplement, along with 5 others and being exposed to other toxins in foods, containers and health for 10, 20, 30 or 40 years may. As with most things, such as the odd pizza, our body is highly adaptive and can handle a certain amount of stress. However, just like a daily pizza can lead to obesity, diabetes and ill health, daily exposure to harmful substances in your supplements and diet can lead to many health issues, the most common and serious being their links to cancer.
The specific dose depends on the substance at hand, which is why Prop 65 has guidelines for all substances. If a product contains a minimal amount unlikely to have any effect, then they will not require the company to list this. But don’t worry, as the rules governing Prop 65 are fairly strict and regulated more tightly than the general Food and Drug Guidelines.
Using ‘lead” as an example, which can be common in many supplements, the U.S Food and Drug Administration has an established “total tolerable intake level” at 6mg per day. Consuming less than this is classed as safe; however, Prop 65 actually limits this at only 0.5mg, 12 times lower than the general US Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
Several supplement companies distributing in California have now been faced with expensive lawsuits due to high levels of lead or other substances found in their supplements. While some lead can be present naturally to a certain degree in some supplements, most of this lead will occur from pesticide application, industrial air pollution or contaminated groundwater.
While this Proposition has helped the Californian supplement consumer make informed supplement choices, for everyone outside California they may still be consuming supplements with high quantities of lead or other substances. As demonstrated above, the “safe” guidelines put forward by the US Food and Drug Administration which govern all other supplements outside California is miles higher than the tighter regulations put forward by Prop 65.This is just another reason you should stick with a high quality and trusted brand such as Kaged Muscle. Remember, the quality of a supplement goes way beyond the “serving size and cost”. Rather than just looking at the face value of a supplement product and comparing price, take a closer look at the label, investigating the ingredients, warning labels and the safety steps they take, such as BSCG certified etc.