CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 FAQS

  • “This product can expose you to chemicals including Cadmium, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.”

    "The Maximum Allowable Daily Level (MADL) for cadmium exposure by the oral route is 4.1 µg /day… Exposure at a level 1,000 times greater than the MADL is expected to have no observable effect.”

  • Cadmium is a natural element in the earth’s crust. Natural occurrences, such as volcanic activities, weathering and erosion, and river transport can release it into the environment.

  • Yes. Cacao trees are one of the plants that avidly take up cadmium. Therefore, cacao nibs, cacao beans and especially cacao powder (where most of the touted health benefits of cacao are also found) commonly exceed the CA Prop 65 MADL for Cadmium.

  • Yes. According to the CDC, others include: “tobacco, rice, other cereal grains, potatoes, and other vegetables… Cadmium is also found in meat, especially sweetmeats such as liver and kidney. In certain areas, cadmium concentrations are elevated in shellfish and mushrooms.” Typically, consumers don’t see a CA Prop 65 Warning on these other foods because the warning label is only required on processed foods.

  • It is less common to see the warning on chocolates or other chocolate-based products because the addition of other ingredients (sugar, cocoa butter, alternative fats, inclusions) dilutes the cadmium per serving to less than the CA Prop 65 MADL.

  • While it is possible for a 30g serving size of unprocessed cacao to fall under the Prop 65 MADL, it is unusual. Often, manufacturers of cacao nibs or powder that contain cadmium may choose to reduce the serving size (based on recommended usage occasions), to ensure their product falls under the CA Prop 65 MADL. 

  • Measures vary significantly by harvest, origin and even by farm in the same community. Over the past few years, tests have ranged from undetectable up to 37 µg per serving. Given the wide range, beginning with imports in 2017, we are testing each batch from each harvest and origin and have begun actively working with our farming community partners on activities to reduce cadmium uptake in their soil. 

  • Safe levels of daily cadmium consumption through food are calculated by your body weight. For a 100 lb. person (multiply by your weight to calculate safe levels for your situation):
    • WHO (World Health Organization) estimates a tolerable on-going daily intake of cadmium at 38 µg.
    • EPA has set the reference dose for food at 45 µg a day.
    Though our products fit well within WHO and EPA guidelines and also naturally contain calcium, iron, zinc and fiber which can help to reduce the amount of cadmium that your body absorbs, we recommend eating no more than one serving per day on an on-going basis to support a balanced diet.  

  • * denotes easy-to-read in plain language.
    1. The CA Prop 65 Legislation for Cadmium. Proposition 65 Maximum Allowable Daily Level (MADL) for Reproductive Toxicity for Cadmium (Oral Route) (2001). Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment.
    2. The most widely referenced article on the topic - Health effects of cadmium exposure – a review of the literature and a risk estimate. Lars Järup, Marika Berglund, Carl Gustaf Elinder, Gunnar Nordberg and Marie Vanter. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, Vol. 24, Supplement 1 (1998), pp. 1-51. Published by: the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, and the Norwegian National Institute of Occupational Health.
    3. An article by the CDC. Toxicological Profile for Cadmium (2012). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    4. Exposure to Cadmium: A Major Public Health Concern (2010). Published by: Public Health and Environment, World Health Organization.
    5. *Cadmium Toxicity, Where is Cadmium Found? (2011). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    6. *Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds Fact Sheet (2016). Published by: Proposition 65 Warnings, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
    7. *How to Reduce Your Dietary Cadmium Absorption. Michael Greger M.D. FACLM (2015). Published on: NutritionFacts.org.