Mercola’s multivitamins come with the warning that “this product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm“. Understandably, this is quite alarming to anyone outside of California.
The warning relates to California’s Proposition 65. This act requires warning labels to be placed on anything that contains toxins over a pre-determined threshold. For supplements, anything that contains 0.5 ppm of lead needs to carry this warning. Mercola have said that each batch varies depending on soil conditions etc, but they generally are all around 0.5 ppm of lead, and so they all carry this warning.
It is worth noting that this is not much lead at all. Uncontaminated soil can contain levels of 40 ppm, and many foods (including fruit and vegetables) will exceed the Proposition 65 levels. However, fruit and vegetables are exempt from carrying a Proposition 65 warning.
As Mercola’s Wholefood Multivitamin is made by concentrating fruits and vegetables, it is inevitable that some of the naturally occurring lead end up in the product. However, as the multivitamin is a supplement and no longer a food, it must carry this warning.
The warning isn’t needed anywhere else in the world, and California is notorious for having very strict regulations regarding health and pollutants. Mercola include the warning on all their multivitamins for a simplified manufacturing and retail process (all products can be sold everywhere).
Here is a response from Mercola’s customer support regarding the health warning:
“It [the lead content] does vary from batch to batch based on the natural ingredients used and the soil conditions it was grown in. We work with out manufacturer to ensure the lead levels never exceed 2 ppm. The Prop 65 requires labelling on batches that exceed 0.5 ppm/ Most batches hover near the 0.5 mark or lower. We hope that this is helpful. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. Once again we do sincerely apologise for any inconvenience.”