Why is there a warning sticker on Redmond Clay?

By November 25, 2013 June 29th, 2018 clay basics, learning about clay

prop65If you spend much time in California, you’re probably used to seeing warning signs about Proposition 65. They’re on display at restaurants, banks, gas stations, grocery stores, even Disneyland. But why is there a proposition 65 warning on Redmond Clay?

What is Proposition 65?

In spirit, prop 65 is a great idea: California lawmakers decided the public needs to know if their water and food supply contains toxic chemicals. So they compiled a list of 800 substances and required any business using the substances proclaim the use publicly. (There’s more to it, of course, which you can get right from the source.)

So my bank, and Disneyland, are… toxic?

No. Well, maybe. The way prop 65 is enforced has created a defensive business strategy: infringements can cost businesses $2,500 per day, and nearly all cases are reported by citizens motivated to earn as much as 25% of that fee by “blowing the whistle,” as it were. These cases are handled in civil lawsuits, which are themselves quite expensive, with nearly all the award going to attorneys. Since there is no penalty for a business who warns customers about prop 65 chemicals even when none are in use, proposition 65 warning signs have become a hallmark of the California lifestyle.

So when you see a prop 65 warning sign, the business might be using toxic chemicals, or they simply might have decided it’s cheaper to hang a few signs than fight the civil lawsuits that these prop 65 law firms bring. It’s an unintended consequence of a law that has probably done a lot of good to protect California residents–while creating a new legal specialty and providing steady business for sign-makers across the state.

What about natural products?

The really interesting thing about proposition 65 is that many fruits and vegetables would be included in the ban as written by California legislators.  For example, carrots and green beans both contain more than twenty times the legal limit of arsenic, as defined by the proposition. (Other offenders include yams, apples, tomatoes, artichokes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach and potatoes.) A compromise was reached to spare natural products from conforming to prop 65 standards: if a product is completely natural, businesses don’t have to report the otherwise banned substance.

But Redmond Clay is natural! So why the warning?

Peaches and pears–and Redmond Clay–contain the tiniest bit of natural (and harmless) lead, which is on the prop 65 list. Like other natural products, Redmond Clay falls under the exempted products definition, but we’re pretty cautious around here, and not terribly interested in defending civil action by prop 65 watchdogs hoping for a settlement or share of $2,500 daily fines. So we ordered some stickers.

We know the language on proposition 65 warnings is pretty heavy, but we wouldn’t sell Redmond Clay if we weren’t completely satisfied by its safety. Like so many other companies, we’ve decided it’s simpler to apply a prop 65 sticker to our products than worry about possible complications down the line. Fortunately, like so many other customers, you probably see so many prop 65 warning labels that you already understand our reasons. If you didn’t, we hope you do now!

Questions or concerns about proposition 65? Please get in touch!

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Diane says:

    Just curious why the lead in your clay is harmless where lead in many other products is toxic (i.e. paint, bathtub glaze).

    • Allison says:

      Trace amounts of lead occur naturally in soil and water. There is a big difference between something that may (or may not) have a tiny amount of lead in it (or “trace amount”) and something that is made from lead (or with lead being a primary component). If you lack the common sense to understand that, then I feel sorry for you because it’s a concept that any middle-school chemistry student should be able to grasp. Minerals and metals don’t come in neat blocks in nature; they break down, they touch each other, they bond with other elements, they get absorbed by plants and eaten by animals. Your lead comment’s logic is literally like having an apple orchard with 100,000+ apple trees and one orange tree and then refusing to eat any apples from the orchard because one *might* have touched an orange. Every substance in this world is toxic to us in some amount–even the things we need in order to survive–and either beneficial or harmless in some other amount.

    • Redmond says:

      Great question Diane, and sorry for the delay. The difference is mostly because of chemistry of clay. Although clay does have a small amount of naturally occurring lead in it as discussed above, there are actually many studies showing that the consumption of the type of clay (bentonite/montmorillonite) has been found to “significantly reduce lead concentration of tissues in blood, brain, liver, bone, kidney and hair.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18568297 This is a full peer-reviewed study published by PubMed (United States National Library of Medicine Search Engine).

      Additionally, there are many other PubMed studies you might be interested in showing this type of clay’s ability to remove toxins such as lead, cadmium, aflatoxin and others from the body. This is why many concerned with lead and other environmental toxins seek out bentonite/montmorillonite clay and clay containing products, even though in nature there is a small amount that is bound tightly to the clay.


      We are not saying that clay is the right answer for everyone, just that there are many peer reviewed studies linking clay consumption to reduced levels of lead and other toxins in the body, tissues, blood and liver.

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