What is Prop 65?

To Our Valued Milk Drunk Clients

We are informing you of the California Proposition 65 regulations and the need for the warnings you may be seeing on Milk Drunk Protein Powders. In light of the recent amendments made to California’s Prop 65, Milk Drunk revisited how we plan to comply with the regulation’s new changes.


What is California Proposition 65?

California Proposition 65 (also known as Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986) is unique to California. A ballot initiative, it serves as a labeling regulation for California consumers and is not an FDA or national standard related to health or safety.

The original purpose of the law was to prevent the dumping of toxic chemicals in waterways. Prop 65 requires businesses to warn Californians before exposing them to chemicals in the consumer products they buy and use. Prop 65 requires the State of California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard (OEHHA) administers the Prop 65 program and maintains the Prop 65 List, which is updated at least once annually.

Even if a product is safe, in California, Proposition 65 requires a consumer warning if a product contains one of approximately 900+ listed substances. The amount of the particular substance in dietary supplements that triggers the label warning is very low and includes a very large margin of safety.


Which chemicals are on the Prop 65 List?

There is a range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals on the Prop 65 List. The updated Prop 65 List can be found at: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-list.


What does a Proposition 65 warning mean to the product?

The warning does not imply that our product will cause cancer, birth defect or reproductive harm, nor is it violating any safety standards or regulations. This information is a public “Right to Know” that the product contains a chemical from that Prop 65 list, and that individuals may be exposed to the chemical.


Prop 65 and Milk Drunk Protein Powders

Milk Drunk is proud of and committed to maintaining the highest standards in our products. At Milk Drunk the trust and safety of our customers is our highest priority and because of this, we are committed to maintaining transparency with you. We’re proud that our products are made with only real, whole food plant-based ingredients.

At Milk Drunk, we make every effort to meet or exceed quality, food-safety, and USDA and NOP Organic standards. California’s Prop 65 has very strict limits for trace heavy metals. It is possible that Milk Drunk Protein Powders may contain trace amounts of naturally occurring lead. These results are slightly above the CA Prop 65 limit of 0.5ug/day. As a result, Milk Drunk is required to label our Protein Powders with the following statement for our California clients:

WARNING: Cancer and reproductive harm - www.p65warnings.ca.gov

This statement is intended for consumers to understand the transparency that Milk Drunk has between the product and the consumers, and should not be omitted on Milk Drunk’s Protein Powders.


Exactly what triggers this warning for these products?

A microscopic amount of lead triggers this warning. Lead exists in our air, soil, water, and food crops. The level that triggers this warning is far below the level associated with actual reproductive harm. Because Prop 65 warning levels are stringently low, it is common to find such warnings posted in California restaurants, hotels, schools, grocery stores and hospitals. 

Additionally, many agencies and industries qualify for an exemption to Prop 65 labeling. This includes all federal, state and local governmental agencies as well as entities who operate public drinking water systems. Most agriculture also qualifies for an exemption as well, as “naturally occurring” chemicals are listed as being exempt from the labeling requirements.

Vegan protein powders often test higher than other protein sources as they are plant-based, and as we know – plants grow in the ground. The absorption of these naturally-occurring chemicals can trigger the warning for a supplement like protein powders and other consumables.


What about similar products with no warning labels?

You cannot assume that products without warning labels are chemical free or exempt from Prop 65 warning requirements. It is possible that the product is not sold in California. Additionally, some companies only put the labels on products that will be sold in California so you would not see the label unless you purchased the product in California. Lastly, some older products sold prior to the labeling requirement went into effect may also contain the listed chemicals. 

As this is a new amendment to Prop 65, many companies are still deciding whether or not to comply with the regulatory changes. Milk Drunk in an effort to be fully transparent to our customers, has decided to fully comply with Prop 65.


 How is the warning level for lead determined?

The California Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) sets the warning level for lead by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to not pose any harm to humans or laboratory animals and then adds a very large margin of safety. This “no observable effect level” defined above is divided by 1,000 to get the margin of safety.

This margin of safety requires companies to provide a warning if there may be an exposure that exceeds 1/1000th of the “no observable effect level” (NOEL). Based on its NOEL, the warning level for lead is set by default at 0.5 micrograms (one-half of a microgram).  A microgram is one-millionth of a gram. However, there are certain allowances for “naturally occurring” amounts and different levels are also set in court-ordered agreements. 


Why is lead found in foods, vitamins and minerals?

Widespread in nature and in soil, low levels of lead are found in many foods and botanical products. Small amounts of lead are found in many foods and supplements even though they are not added during the manufacturing process. 


Why do I see a warning on a product sold on the Internet, but not on the same product sold in my local store?

Prop 65 is a label regulation that only applies to products intended to be purchased or consumed by California residents. It is not a national standard relating to health or safety of the product. No other state has such a labeling regulation. 

Product shipped by retail outlets to California will show the warning if necessary. No warning is required for sales to residents of the other 49 states. 


How does the Prop 65 lead level of 0.5 mcg compare to other sources of lead?

Prop 65 requires the warning for products sold in California that contain over 0.5 microgram (mcg) of lead per maximum daily usage. This can be compared to other reported environmental exposures to lead:

 Adult daily exposures to lead*


4.0 mcg/day


5.0 mcg/day


20 – 90 mcg/day

 *According to World Health Organization estimates

Selected Foods Reported to Contain over 1 mcg Lead Per Serving (average lead content in mcg)**

Wine, red or white, 5 ounce glass


Chocolate syrup, 4 tablespoons


Baby food grape juice, 1/2 cup


Pineapple canned in juice, 1/2 cup


Canned sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup


Baby food sweet potatoes, 1 jar (1/2 cup)


Shrimp, 4 ounces


Spinach, 1/2 cup cooked


Cabbage, 1/2 cup cooked


Lettuce, 5 leaves


Leeks, 1/2 cup


Canned tuna, 3 ounces (1/2 can)


Scallops, 4 ounces


 **Sources: US FDA Total Diet Study 2010, Kachenko 2006, Voegborlo 1999, Burger 2005.


Where can I get more information on Proposition 65?

At Milk Drunk, our goal is to provide support and nutrition to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. We understand how important it is to know what you are putting in your body especially when you are nourishing another human being. There are so many items on the market to assist with breastfeeding and nutrition and we feel honored that you continue to use and support our products. Additionally, we are committed to Proposition 65 compliance as well as helping our customers better understand the amended law and of the most recent labeling requirements.  We are here for any and all customer concerns and questions.

For more info from California regarding Prop 65, please visit https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65