Cancer warning on pHion supplements

by Charles
(USA)

Warning Label of pHion's Products

Warning Label of pHion's Products

Dear Melissa,


Hi Melissa. I've been taking supplements from pHion to boost my body pH.

However, recently I bought pHion pills and powder and both of them have a sticker saying that the product has cancerous chemicals.

Do your pHion products have that sticker (if you do take pHion)? Or do you use other ways of boosting your body pH?

Please reply as soon as you can as I may get sick and be uncertain whether or not the pills are safe.

Sincerely,

Charles K

PS: Do you happen to know the cancerous chemicals the sticker is referring to? If you could tell me, that would be very much appreciated.


RESPONSE


Hi Charles,

I understand your concern. I used pHion's products for many years, so I was curious about the new sticker too. For those that do not know, the sticker reads:

"WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."

Certainly disconcerting to anyone about to consume that product! So what chemical are they referring to? Apparently, lead. Here is pHion's official response:

"There was a law passed in California awhile back called Proposition 65 that requires these stickers be placed on any product that is grown due to a chance that the plants could pick up a minute amount of lead.

These products are considered safe by the federal government and the sticker is only required for bottles sold in the state of California, but since we are not able to control which bottles are shipped to customers in California, we decided to put the sticker on every bottle just to be safe.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us."


Since you frequently can't count on companies to be completely honest about such things, I looked into what they were saying.

First of all, the legislation called Proposition 65 (or just Prop 65) is the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

Its intention was to make California citizens aware of exposures to chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm.

You might be wondering why these stickers are just now appearing, since the law was passed so long ago. It's because the law is finally starting to be enforced through legal actions of some California citizens.

So does the label mean the product is unsafe?

Scary words aside, we don't really know.

We do know that high levels of lead are dangerous. What we don't know is what can happen when we are exposed to very low levels over a long period of time.

The warning labels required do not present any kind of information to assess whether the products are unsafe. Its purpose is to just let us know that there is a chemical of concern in that product.

So let us look at Prop 65 and its requirements for lead – which is what triggered the warning for pHion's products.

For each chemical of concern, there are two values - one for No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLS) for carcinogens and one for Maximum Allowable Dose Levels (MADLS) for chemicals that can cause reproductive harm. You can find that list on this safe harbor levels page.

For lead the NSRLS is listed as 15 micrograms per day orally. The MADLS level they list is 0.5 micrograms per day. What we next must ask ourselves is are these values reasonable? Also, is pHion's defense reasonable as well? What are the levels of lead in uncontaminated soil?

Lead is certainly a cause of concern for public health. Because of this, federal agencies like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) have set what research has shown to be acceptable levels of lead.

Lead is naturally occurring in soil, air and water. Uncontaminated soil contains less than 50 parts per million (ppm). This equals less than 50 micrograms per gram. Lead in urban soil frequently exceeds 200 ppm (200 micrograms per gram). The EPA considers 400 ppm (400 micrograms per gram) to be safe for children's play areas.

I'm all for being overly cautious when it comes to these kinds of chemicals, but I cannot find out where Prop 65 came up with their 0.5 micrograms of lead per day. It does not seem to be based on any kind of scientific reasoning.

We are all ingesting tiny amounts of lead just from eating, drinking, and even breathing!

So, in summary, that label that is causing so much commotion doesn't really do much beyond scaring us.

We can assume that a very tiny amount of lead is in the alkalizing greens product just because of the nature of the product (grasses grown in soil and exposed to water).

If you want to know if I would still ingest it, the answer is certainly.

Wishing you the best of health,

Melissa
Approach Wellness

Comments for Cancer warning on pHion supplements

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Oral ingestion vs absorbed
by: Brian

Hi JEH,

The difference pertains to the manner in which the lead is administered. The 15 mcg NSRLS amount pertains to lead that is orally ingested by a human. Only a portion of the ingested lead will be absorbed by the body. The portion absorbed will also depend on the type of lead. For example, lead from "lead phosphate" absorbs less readily into the body and 58 mcg is the NSRLS under California's safe harbor. Here is a link to the California assessment these levels in a PDF document. NO SIGNIFICANT RISK LEVELS (NSRLS) FOR THE PROPOSITION 65 CARCINOGENS LEAD AND LEAD COMPOUNDS (ORAL), June 2001, Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Section, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), California Environmental Protection Agency

Is this a typo in your response to Charles?
by: Anonymous

Hi Melissa,

Good on you for making your own web page.

You wrote:
"For lead the NSRLS is listed as 15 micrograms per day orally. The MADLS level they list is 0.5 micrograms per day."

That means the maximum allowable dose is less than the "no significant risk" level, which clearly makes no sense.

Please explain.

Thanks,

JEH

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