On August 13, 2015, an environmental-health watchdog group, As You Sow, filed a notice of intent to bring legal action against Soylent, a "meal replacement" powder, alleging violation of California's "Prop 65" Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act for failure to provide sufficient warning to consumers of lead and cadmium levels in the Soylent 1.5 product.
According to As You Sow, tests it commissioned showed that one serving (115 grams) of Soylent 1.5 can expose a consumer to a concentration of lead that is 12 to 25 times above California's Safe Harbor level for reproductive health (0.5 mcg), and a concentration of cadmium that is at least 4 times greater than the Safe Harbor level for cadmium (4.1 mcg). Two separate samples of Soylent 1.5 were tested.
Rosa Labs, the marketer of Soylent, posted a response on August 17, along with its own findings for Soylent 1.5, reporting of 0.186 ppm of cadmium and 0.0434 ppm of lead, which would suggest that a 115 gram serving would contain to 21.6 mcg of cadmium and 5.0 mcg of lead -- both also over the California limits and roughly in-line with As You Sow's findings. However, Rosa Labs claimed that Soylent is compliant with the California law because it because it displays the required Prop 65 warning where it sells its products. However, it was not clear from Rosa Lab's response if the warning appears on products, as required by California law.
Lead exposure is a significant public health issue and is associated with neurological impairment, such as learning disabilities and lower IQ, even at low levels. Chronic exposure to cadmium has been linked to kidney, liver, and bone damage in humans.
ConsumerLab.com has reported elevated levels of lead, cadmium, and/or arsenic in many products, including greens and whole foods powders, herbal supplements, such as curcumin, black cohosh and valerian, and popular cocoa powders.
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