ConsumerLab.com Answers  

State of California Warning Label on Supplements

Question:
I purchased a supplement with a warning label indicating that it contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, but there is no information explaining why. Do you know?

Answer:
This warning is legally required by the state of California for dietary supplements and many other products sold in that state which expose you to levels of one or more chemicals that may cause cancer or reproductive harm. The list of chemicals which can trigger a warning includes hundreds of compounds but, unfortunately, the California law (known as Prop 65 or the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) does not require businesses to say exactly which compound is the reason for the warning.

California's limits are strict and, in many cases, go beyond any federal limit — particularly as the federal government has not established limits on contaminants in supplements, leaving that decision up to each manufacturer. ConsumerLab.com generally applies the Prop 65 limits when testing for contaminants in supplements.  In ConsumerLab.com's experience testing thousands of supplements, it has identified many which exceed the California limit for lead, a heavy metal, which can occur in plant-based ingredients, such as herbs, as well as in minerals. Often these ingredients are not the primary ingredient in a product, but are part of a blend or proprietary formula added to enhance the product or distinguish it in the marketplace. 

ConsumerLab.com has typically found that products which exceed the limits for lead contamination pose a greater risk to children and to women who are pregnant or nursing than to other healthy adults but, nevertheless, they represent easily avoidable sources of these toxic compounds. ConsumerLab.com has also found that manufacturers are often not aware that their product exceeds a Prop 65 limit and do not include a warning on the label, even when the product is sold in California.

Although California is the only state requiring this labeled warning, companies that sell products nationally sometimes include the label on products sold even outside of California. 

In an effort to protect themselves from potential lawsuits in California for not displaying a required warning, some companies may affix the Prop 65 warning labels to products -- as well as to website pages about products -- regardless of whether or not the specific products exceed Prop 65 limits.  

If you see a warning label of this type, you may want to check ConsumerLab.com's website to see if there is information about the product. You may also want to contact the manufacturer or distributor to learn the reason for the warning.


See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

JARKKO17191   September 22, 2018
I am surprised some companies are either lazy or do not want to tell the whole truth, when they add text "prop 65" hidden in small print on bottles, yes only those 4 letters and 2 numbers without any explanation.

It would be much more consumer friendly to put a small paper inside every supplement bottle with a certificate of analysis for that batch, with contact information to a 3rd party lab, with comparisons to federal limits or Pharmacopeia limits.

Or a QR bar code that leads to a 3rd party website with certificate of analysis for that batch.

scott17560   February 20, 2019
There are 900+ chemicals listed in California's Prop 65 rules it would be impossible and cost prohibitive to check a product for all of them. Further, the standards are ridiculous and again, nearly impossible to prove the amount of exposure exceeds what is laid out. So to avoid being sued by the bounty hunter law firms of which themselves are a complete racket, companies label their product with the overall label allowed by California. Take a walk though Disney Land in CA. You can't walk 20 feet without seeing another Prop 65 warning sign. Sawdust is on the list. Aspirin is on the list, can go on and on....


Share your thoughts and comments about this topic in the space below. Please abide by the following rules:
  • If you make a statement of fact, such as whether a type of treatment does or does not work, state your basis -- such as personal experience or a published study.
  • If you make a positive or negative comment about a product, note whether or not you have a financial interest in the product or in a competing product.
  • Please be respectful in your tone.
  • Please do not submit any type of HTML markup or scripting as it will not be accepted, nor will comments that exceed 2,500 characters.
For your privacy, only your first name (from your account) followed by a random number will appear with your comment. Your last name and email address will not be displayed.
Comment:

Share your thoughts and comments about this topic in the space below. Please abide by the following rules:
  • If you make a statement of fact, such as whether a type of treatment does or does not work, state your basis -- such as personal experience or a published study.
  • If you make a positive or negative comment about a product, note whether or not you have a financial interest in the product or in a competing product.
  • Please be respectful in your tone.
  • Please do not submit any type of HTML markup or scripting as it will not be accepted, nor will comments that exceed 2,500 characters.
For your privacy, only your first name (from your account) followed by a random number will appear with your comment. Your last name and email address will not be displayed.
Comment:

You can modify your comment below. Please be aware the comment will have to approve the changes before they will be shown:
Comment:

Your edit has been submitted and is being reviewed by ConsumerLab.com prior to publication.
This CL Answer initially posted on 3/20/2014. Last updated 8/8/2017.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 

   BECOME A MEMBER
JOIN NOW


Product Reviews

ENCYCLOPEDIA
In addition to our product reviews our encyclopedia covers the following:

Herbs & Supplements

Conditions

Drug Interactions

Alternative Therapies

MEMBER TESTIMONIALS


Follow us on...
facebook twitter
 
 
Join |  Sign In
   
Join Us on Facebook! Join Us on Instagram! Join Us on Twitter! Join Us on YouTube! Join Us on YouTube!
Product Tests
Brands Tested
Health Conditions
Encyclopedia
CL Answers
Clinical Updates
News
Recalls & Warnings
RDAs
Where to Buy Products
Raw Materials Tests
Testing Program
How Products Were Tested
Join CL Today
Testimonials
Join Free Newsletter
Group Subscriptions
Gift Membership
About Us
The CL Seal
CL Survey
Privacy Policy
Sitemap
Contact Us/Help

©2019 ConsumerLab.com, LLC. All rights reserved. A single copy of a report may be printed for personal use by the subscriber. It is otherwise unlawful to print, download, store or distribute content from this site without permission.
ConsumerLab.com name and flask logo are both registered trademarks of ConsumerLab.com, LLC. This site is intended for informational purposes only and not to provide medical advice.