WASHINGTON UPDATE*

The Prop 65 Problem

This California law enriches greedy lawyers at the expense of health freedom.

November/December 2010


Enacted in 1986, Propo­sition 65 is a California law designed to protect consumers from over
700 toxic substances. Prop 65 should be used as a shield to protect the public. Instead it is
being wielded as a weapon to malign and destroy the nutritional supplement industry…and ultimately harm your health.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown recently sent warnings to over 50 popular nutritional supplement manufacturers. The insinuation was that their supplements had dangerous levels of toxins. Examination of this misuse of Prop 65 casts questions over Brown’s motivation for targeting healthful dietary supplements.

Proposition 65 sets a limit of 0.5 mcg of lead per serving, which is recognized by virtually every authority in the world as being arbitrarily low. We all want to limit lead to any extent possible. But this limit is far below the amount of lead naturally found in fruits and vegetables grown on clean, non-contaminated soils. When the State of California conducted its own food crop soil-lead-uptake analysis (Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environ­ment 129 (2009) 212–220), its own experts found that the most commonly consumed vegetables, from 70 different locations, averaged nearly four times the Prop 65 limit per serving.

Using Brown’s Proposition 65 standard, each serving of potatoes, lettuce, wheat, carrots and most other vegetables would require a lead warning. Meanwhile, one cup of shrimp contains 46 mcg of lead. Even a cup of carrots contains 12 mcg of lead. By sending warning letters to makers of dietary supplements with just 1 to 5 mcg of lead per serving, Brown’s message is that selling carrots in capsule form suddenly makes them dangerous.

A Low Threshold

The FDA reports that American adults naturally take in over 250 mcg of lead every day. The World Health Organization sets a safe daily limit of lead at 243 mcg of lead. Scientific research suggests that the human body contains approximately 200,000 mcg of lead.

While no one is suggesting that lead is safe, these figures show that Prop 65’s limit of 0.5 mcg in foods is arbitrarily low and unrealistic. In effect, it allows any government (or pharmaceutical industry) agent to attack any product that contains a quarter of a serving of vegetables or more.

Ulterior Motives

The same people who have been attacking whole-food supplements for the past 40 years are abusing Prop 65 to undermine DSHEA and take away our nutritional supplements. Supplement companies are being targeted with frivolous lawsuits and heavy fines. Aside from making trial lawyers rich while bankrupting the supplement makers, this flagrant misapplication of the law ultimately harms consumers.

When Prop 65 is used to target perfectly safe and healthful dietary supplements, it not only erodes our health freedom rights, but it also squanders our government’s limited resources. Legalized extortion of dietary supplements diverts vital funds and manpower away from the oversight of truly harmful products, such as lethal prescription drugs and carcinogen-tainted imports.

If you feel that Prop 65 is being misused—threatening your access to safe whole-food supplements—then make your voice heard!

Call California’s Proposition 65 Enforcement Reporting office at 510-873-6321 or fax them at 510-622-2270. Tell them to prioritize their efforts on truly harmful products—not the nutritional supplements that we take to stay healthy. Take control of your and your family’s health destiny by only buying high-quality supplements, and proactively seek out safe, pure and natural nutrition. Join the Nutritional Health Alliance to stay up to date on the Prop 65 issue and other threats to health freedom at www.nha2010.com.

*This editorial is a public service announcement sponsored by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA).

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