California’s Proposition 65 (“PROP 65”)

What is PROP 65?

In 1986 California voters passed the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, commonly known as PROP 65. These regulations require the State of California to publish two lists of chemicals – one list of chemicals that have been shown to have a risk of causing cancer in animals or humans, and a second list of chemicals that have been shown to have a risk of causing birth defects or other reproductive harm in animals or humans. The two lists, which are updated once a year, have grown to more than 900 chemicals since they were first published in 1987.

PROP 65 also requires any company selling products to consumers in California to provide a “clear and reasonable warning” about the presence, even at trace amounts, of a Proposition 65-listed chemical.  It is important to know that Proposition 65 does not ban the sale of a product that contains a listed chemical; it simply requires that the seller of the product have a “clear and reasonable” warning notice on it.

What Chemicals are on the PROP 65 Lists?

The two PROP 65 lists include a wide range of both naturally-occurring and man-made chemicals. Listed chemicals include ingredients found in pesticides, insecticides, and construction materials, as well as ingredients in common household products like foods, drugs, and alcoholic beverages.

Some chemicals on the two Proposition 65 lists, such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic, occur both naturally and as environmental pollutants in air, water and soil.  Plants, including fruits, vegetables and botanical ingredients, absorb these metals as they grow and food-animals absorb them from the foods that they eat.  As a result, these elements are often found in commonly eaten foods such as rice, fish, and leafy green vegetables at levels far higher than the PROP 65 warning thresholds.

Does PROP 65 apply to dietary supplements?

PROP 65 does apply to dietary supplements sold in California. If a dietary supplement contains a chemical on a PROP 65 list, and the chemical is or may be present in an amount above its PROP 65 threshold, California law requires that the consumer must be given a PROP 65 warning.

Are products with a PROP 65 warning unsafe?

When a manufacturer includes a PROP 65 warning notice on a product it does not mean the product is unsafe. All foods naturally contain some amount of heavy metals from the earth. The threshold exposure limits that the State of California has set for many chemicals on the two Proposition 65 lists are far below the “safe” limits set by other regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Health Organization.

Why don’t all CBD products contain this warning?

There are a couple of reasons that a CBD company selling products in California might not include a warning on their products.  First, they may not be aware of the warning requirements.  This may be especially true for companies located outside of California.   Secondly, PROP 65 enforcement is most commonly driven by plaintiff’s law firms rather than by the state, resulting in inconsistent enforcement.  Inconsistent enforcement in turn leads to inconsistent compliance. 

Social CBD tests every single lot of Social CBD product for heavy metals to ensure that levels are below the limits set by the United States Pharmacopeia and we strongly believe in the safety of our products.  We also believe in complying with the laws of every state in which our products are sold, which is why we have decided to provide a PROP 65 warning on all of the products we sell in California. 

How Can I Learn More about PROP 65?

For information about the chemicals listed under PROP 65 go to http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65.html or http://ag.ca.gov/prop65.