By: Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Prop 65 (which is probably a good portion of you), you may have seen something like the below on your supplement labels:
Warning: Consuming this product can expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
Look familiar? Probably. That alone is enough to make someone think twice about purchasing the product. But do you really have anything to worry about?
While not every supplement company puts this Prop 65 warning on their label, they all fall under the same standards (so long as they sell products in California).
Now, I’ve seen and heard cases firsthand where people were looking at a supplement, saw the label and the warning that “consuming the product could cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm,” and got scared — ultimately having them put the product back on the shelf or not buying online out of fear that it’s harmful.
The truth is California loves lawsuits. In fact, in my opinion, California lawyers wake up every day looking for someone to sue to fill up their pockets and bank accounts. And in the state of California, you need to have this Prop 65 warning on your supplement labels. But here’s the thing, brands who sell products in California, along with all the other states, need to have it on the label simply because they sell their products in the state of California.
But if you follow the bouncing ball, most of the lawsuits in the supplement industry these days are coming from law firms based out of California.
Here is the fact you need to understand. If brands refuse to sell products in California, they don’t need the Prop 65 warning on their label. Does that mean these brands can then put harmful chemicals into their products? Well, no. Their goal is to provide you with dietary supplements to improve your health, performance, and physique. So, they wouldn’t purposely add harmful things to their supplements.
That said, most brands play it safe and simply put the Prop 65 warning on their labels, and that’s why it’s on there. But the fact of the matter is that unless you’re buying some weird underground supplement, the majority of the supplement brands you see today (like MuscleSport) are producing high-quality products with high-quality ingredients that are manufactured in a cGMP facility and are considered safe for use.
In this article, we are going to dive deeper into what Prop 65 is, the benefit of it, and what you should do if you see a product with a warning on the label.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before introducing any supplements into your regimen.
What is Prop 65?
The actual name of Prop 65 is Proposition 65. The law was put into action by California to help residents make “more informed decisions regarding the products they purchase and use.” Prop 65 is also referred to as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act and was passed back in 1986 by lawmakers.
As the law states, any company that “may” sell products that contain a certain list of chemicals (you can find the list here) needs to have the Prop 65 warning on their label. To provide you with some context to the list, there are well over 900 chemicals listed on the website (be prepared for your finger to get tired from scrolling through the exhaustive list).
In order for companies to protect themselves, many (regardless of whether or not they contain any of the chemicals mentioned) put the Prop 65 warning on their label anyway as a precautionary measure. Not only does this help protect them from potential lawsuits, but the list of chemicals is always being updated, and unless you check it frequently, you may miss an update that could put you out of California compliance. To give them a little credit, they do remove chemicals that their stance has changed based on new research showing the chemical is not harmful.
The Benefit of Prop 65
I’d like to think that states make laws and regulations based on what is deemed unhealthy and can put people at risk, ultimately making the products we use and consume safer. While many may debate that fact (just look at the 203.7 billion cigarettes sold in America back in 2020 according to statistics, and it is known to cause cancer), I’d like to believe their hearts are in the right place.
When Prop 65 was introduced, it caused brands to remove potentially harmful chemicals from their products. Therefore, the benefit would be cleaning up formulas and ingredients used in many of the products we use on a daily basis, such as supplements, skincare products, hygiene products, and more. But as the Act named above would apply, California’s focus was also to ensure companies aren’t dumping the listed chemicals into their drinking water sources.
Another benefit would be transparency. Due to Prop 65, brands need to be certain they list their ingredients, including all the chemicals, so that consumers know exactly what’s in the products they purchase and use.
Do You Have Anything to Worry About If a Label Has the Prop 65 Warning?
While I cannot confirm or deny that every supplement you pick up is going to be compliant and not have any of the chemicals listed according to Prop 65 regulations (whether they have a Prop 65 warning on the label or not), the supplement industry has done a lot of housekeeping over the last several years.
Many brands are now moving to transparent labels so that you can feel comfortable and confident in your purchasing behaviors. Everything is being listed out on labels, and brands are getting behind the transparency movement. Sure, you still have brands that utilize proprietary blends, but they all have the ingredients listed on their label.
So, do you have anything to worry about if you see a supplement label with the Prop 65 warning? In my opinion, no. You shouldn’t need to compare the products you’re looking at to see if one or the other has the Prop 65 warning listed in order to decide what product you want to purchase.
Here’s what I like to tell people… buy from brands you know and trust and the ones you feel the most comfortable supporting — like MuscleSport.
Jason Mancuso, “The Supp Chef,” has been in the industry a long time and has built his reputation off creating some of the best-tasting supplements that utilize the highest-quality ingredients, exceeding industry standards to ensure you get the best results using MuscleSport products.
If you’ve never tried their Lean Whey, I highly suggest you do so. Not only do their flavors blow competitors out of the water, but their unique formula includes their famous Lean Whey Protein Matrix along with their Lean Whey Fat Metabolizing Matrix. Lean Whey not only supports muscle growth but also fat burning as well.
Related Article: What’s the Cereal Series? Lean Whey Upgrade