The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, better known by its original name, Proposition 65, was passed by the State of California in 1986. Proposition 65 requires products being sold in
California that contain any of the substances listed in the Act be labeled that they are known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, if that substance is added to the product.
However, California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment clearly states that, "A Proposition 65 warning does not necessarily mean a product is in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements."
Unfortunately, this legislative act allows any attorney to act on behalf of the State of California to initiate litigation against any organization they believe is violating the act. What started as a noble idea
and a list of 30 chemicals has expanded to more than 800 substances and created an environment where lawsuit abuse, extortion, misleading labels, and ineffective reform have flourished. It is well documented
that this law has been abused by exploitative, for-profit law firms and individuals who rake in millions upon millions of dollars in settlements ($17.4 million in 2013 alone, with 73% of that going to attorney fees)
with little to no benefit for Californians.
For your knowledge:
Many common products contain lead, including candy bars, many fruit juices, many canned fruits, lettuce, red wine, chocolate chip cookies and numerous other foods.
Many items and many retail outlets in California have labeling or notices: Supermarkets, Starbucks, restaurants, dry cleaners, dishes, jewelry and many more.
Minerals like iron, calcium, lead and cadmium are found in soil all across the globe. They make their way into many of the crops we eat through root uptake and plant metabolism. This is how the plant gets
nourishment to grow in order to provide you (and us) with numerous health benefits when we eat them. These minerals are integrated into the fibers of the plant, and organically bound to them. When we eat
these plants, our body uses, absorbs and disposes of these substances very differently than if we accidentally ingest flakes of lead paint.
A number of our products, as well as many other nutritional products, contain lead, which is one of the 800 substances named in Proposition 65; however, Robard has Certificates of Analysis from our major
suppliers showing that the ingredients we source from them have naturally occurring lead, and no lead is added. Unfortunately, proving that certain substances are naturally occurring is nearly impossible.
For example, we use milk proteins in our products. For just this one ingredient, it would have to be proven that the grass the cow ate was grown in soil that had never been fertilized with fertilizer where lead was added.
Prop 65 is hurting lawful natural food companies that are actually in compliance. The leading reason behind the hundreds of lawsuits is that Prop 65 has a "citizen-suit" provision. Meant to pay for itself and not
require funding from legislature, this has allowed self-seeking lawyers and individuals to bring suits by claiming it's "in the public interest," without needing proof of violation, and putting the burden
of truth on the manufacturer. These law firms don't even have to prove that they have been injured in any way by whatever violation of the Prop 65 they are claiming. Most organizations that are contacted
by an attorney regarding Proposition 65 are forced to pay an exorbitant fine rather than proceed with litigation as those costs would be even higher.