The list of chemicals that fall under Prop 65 labeling laws grows continuously, striving to keep pace with the latest in manufacturing and science. Revised each year, it now includes over 900 chemicals, which can be viewed here.
Prop 65 defines a chemical as something known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. It can be man-made, like diazoaminobenzene, a contaminant found in some cosmetics and foods, or naturally occurring, like some of the arsenic found in the soil. Many chemicals, like benzene, are both; manufactured as a gasoline additive and also a natural byproduct of forest fires.
The list includes food dyes, like Citrus Red No. 2, and relatively common drugs, like Albuterol. Some, like dioxin, have a long history of association with cancer or birth defects, a tragic result from the earlier days of manufacturing and mismanaged waste. Many others, like beta-myrcene, a naturally occuring compound found in some plants and essential oils, were more recently added to the list after animal studies found kidney and liver cancer resulting from high doses administered directly to rodents' stomachs—a relatively common (and often controversial) way to determine chemical risk. The health implications of others are more vague, like with Acetaminophen, which is listed as simply ‘under consideration’ for cancer.
Historically, the Prop 65 label did not inform the customer of the chemical(s) in question that a product or service might expose them to. However, that changed in 2018 when new regulations went into effect that mandated the chemical name be included in the warning label. While some products have their older, nonspecific labels grandfathered in, newer product warnings are much more specific, helping consumers in making better informed choices.
When it comes to Navitas Organics' products, the Prop 65 warning label refers to trace amounts of lead or cadmium. These elements are naturally present in organic soils and are absorbed to varying degrees by the plants grown in them. Luckily, these metals are non-essential to plant growth and are not prioritized in the nutrient uptake cycle, keeping their presence minimal.
The amount of heavy metals found in a food depends on a variety of factors, including the geographic location in which the plant is grown (soils in some areas of the world contain more heavy metal elements than in others); the part of the plant that's being harvested (certain seeds, nuts, or dark leafy greens store more heavy metals than other foods); and the climate conditions of a particular year. So while the levels can range from harvest to harvest, we ensure safety and quality in our foods by testing all of them for heavy metals using third party, independent labs.
Most importantly, the lead or cadmium found in some of our foods is never the result of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or any processes used in their manufacturing and packaging. We would never sell you a superfood that we wouldn't eat ourselves!