California Proposition 65

What is California Proposition 65?

California Proposition 65 is California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, passed by California voters in 1986.  It is also referred to as Prop 65.  This California State law requires businesses and other establishments to display warnings when they sell products or have substances on the premises known (in the State of California) to cause cancer or reproductive harm.  Acrylamide and heavy metals including; lead are some of the substances covered under Prop 65. 

Who does this law apply to?

This law applies to all businesses who sell their products in the State of California.  It does not apply to businesses or establishments in any other state in the USA.  Many products found on shelves in states outside of California may have Proposition 65 warnings on their labels because of this law, and because they sell the product in California. 

What do California Proposition 65 warnings look like? 

Consumers in California are very familiar with the ever present Proposition 65 warnings on consumer products, in retail storefronts, in airports, or on a sign next to the elevator. 

The WARNING (California Proposition 65) language may appear as:

“This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm”.

“Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity, including acrylamide, are present in coffee, baked goods and other foods or beverages sold here”….. 





For Perspective:

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) expert committee on Food Additives recommends that the weekly intake of lead should not exceed 25mcg/kg of body weight per week for adults, children and infants.  For a 130lb adult (59kg), the limit is (210 mcg/day). 

All Nutrex Hawaii products are well below WHO limits and US federal lead standards for total tolerable exposure for women (75 mcg/day), and (6 mcg/day) for children 0 – 6 years old, compared to the Prop 65 maximum allowable limit of (0.5 mcg/day).

(Average lead values for various foods referenced below were obtained from the US FDA Total Diet Study, 2006 – 2011.  Weights used in calculations of serving sizes were obtained from the USDA National Nutrient Databases).

Prop 65 limits for lead are so low that many foods contain amounts higher than allowed, including natural foods like spinach, collard greens, and carrots.  However, food producers are not required to provide Prop 65 notices.

Even the USDA recommended daily 2-4 servings of fruits could contain up to 26 times more lead than the Prop 65 limit. 

Canned peaches and apricots contain 185% more lead than the Prop 65 limit

Pineapple juice contains 171% more lead than the Prop 65 limit

Raisins contain 145% more lead than the Prop 65 limit

Strawberries contain 86% more lead than the Prop 65 limit



Why is lead in foods and dietary supplement products?

Lead and other heavy metals are present throughout the environment due to its natural occurrence and due to human activities such as coal burning or use of leaded fuels.  The World Health Organization reported in its “Trace elements in Human Nutrition & Health 1996 study” that heavy metals are present in foods around many parts of the world.  Lead in ground soil can be absorbed by plants, including plants grown for organic foods.  Trace amounts of naturally occurring lead can ultimately be present in organic protein and green food ingredients used to make dietary supplements.  Prop 65 states that no warning is required when the listed substance occurs naturally in a food product, and not as the result of “known human activity.” However, the State of California has never issued clear guidelines on how this exception applies to the dietary supplement industry and the burden of proving a naturally occurring exemption is usually cost prohibitive for well-intentioned reputable businesses that want to bring quality natural products to consumers.

How does this affect Nutrex Hawaii products?

The microalgae in our Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica and BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin products is grown on the pristine Kona Coast of Hawaii.  Our location, being one of the most remote bodies of land in the world provides a high quality environment with limited exposure to human activity.  The majority of our products meet the strict Prop 65 limits.  In fact all of our pure Spirulina and BioAstin microalgae products are compliant with Prop 65.  This is why you will not have seen Prop 65 warnings on these products. 

The only product that you will see the warning on is our Natural Vanilla Protein Shake and Green Complete Superfood Powder. It contains natural proteins that naturally have high levels of lead.  Processes to remove lead from these protein ingredients would destroy the vegetarian protein that our loyal consumers are looking for.  Because this product contains protein powders and because the beneficial serving size is relatively large (26 g) the Prop 65 limit for lead is exceeded.  In fact, virtually all of protein products on the market cannot meet the requirements.  Nutrex Hawaii, in compliance with Prop 65 law, has listed the required warning on the Natural Vanilla Protein Shake and Green Complete Superfood Powder. 


Should I be worried about taking Nutrex Hawaii products?

Absolutely not!  Nutrex Hawaii strongly believes in the safety and efficacy of our products.  We are committed to bringing high quality nutritious products to consumers.   

Ultimately, Proposition 65 regulates maximum allowable exposure in California, and not the actual accumulation of a heavy metal in your blood or actual harm and injury done to people.