We are aware of recent mentions of California’s Prop 65 law and the notices and settlements between a private environmental group and a large number of companies from many industries who were targeted, including Reliv. We have had inquiries by those who have seen some shared media, written by a blogger who has shorted Reliv stock and has personal financial gain at stake with declines in Reliv’s stock price, that makes this seem to be a big issue. The fact is – it isn’t. Reliv is in compliance and was one of hundreds of companies that were targeted for reasons that are contrary to our belief in good, ethical business practices.
In 2010 Reliv received notices from a private environmental group that certain of our products contained lead above the permissible limit under California Proposition 65 of 0.5 parts per million (ppm) per recommended daily serving(s). Reliv has and continues to test its products for various heavy metals to ensure that levels fall well below any permissible limit set forth by federal regulations. For example, the Therapeutic Goods Association of Australia (TGA) allows 5 ppm of lead in a nutritional supplement. The United States FDA has no standard for food supplements but the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) limit for nutritional supplements is 10 ppm and the FDA tolerable daily diet lead intake for adults is 75 ppm from all food sources. All of our products tested below 3 ppm at the time we received the notices in 2010. Accordingly, California set its own lead limits at 10 times more stringent than the TGA, well known to be the most strict national regulatory authority in the world when it comes to regulation of nutritional supplements.
Upon receiving the notices, we began an internal testing and review program. We tested multiple lots of every ingredient we use in our products and quickly sourced the lowest lead ingredients and where necessary switched from herbal components to extracts without compromising the efficacy of our products. For some time now, Reliv has been fully compliant with Prop 65 and all of our products test under 0.5 ppm of lead.
It is worth noting that lead is a naturally occurring element in our food supply. Heavy metals are ubiquitous in the environment; it is impossible to be 100% free of these substances. While Proposition 65 allows for a naturally occurring defense to any claims made against a company, it is an onerous financial burden to prove that requires soil and water testing in every location where our ingredients are grown and sourced all over the world and the hiring of expensive experts, in addition to full blown litigation and legal fees. Plaintiffs firms know this and seek financial gain from settlements aware that it is too expensive for most companies to defend themselves. We made a business decision to settle the claims for far less than it would have cost to litigate the claims. We have attached an article on Prop 65 indicating the Governor of California acknowledges the abuses of Prop 65 by “unscrupulous lawyers.”
Reliv has never made a claim under its product liability insurance and we have a proven track record of safety and efficacy that has been built over the past 25 years we have been in business. Reliv’s commitment to safety is uncompromising and from that we will never waiver.