In the May issue of Consumer Reports, a story titled “Vitamin D: How 32 supplements really measure up” erroneously identified nine vitamin D/calcium supplement products that the publication claimed exceeded the California Proposition 65 Lead Limit for Reproductive Risk.
The story has been corrected online and now states that “All [of the adult calcium plus Vitamin D supplement products tested] met our quality criteria, which includes meeting label claims of calcium and vitamin D, passing USP dissolution test and not exceeding USP limits for heavy metals.” A footnote to the chart accurately indicates that “Under settlement agreements with the California Attorney General’s office, these companies are provided with more latitude in calculating their lead levels and thus do not have to issue label warnings that would have otherwise been required.”
According to CRN’s Steve Mister, “We believe this was an honest mistake by the publication, as the settlement agreements with the State of California are not available on either the California Attorney General’s website or the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s website, and we were glad to see the correction.”
“As importantly as the explanation that the companies were not breaking the law,” Mr. Mister continued, “is the fact that consumers need to be reassured that the lead levels do not pose a safety risk. Calcium, like most minerals, contains some amount of lead simply because calcium comes from the earth. The agreement reached with the State of California recognizes that acceptable lead levels for calcium supplements should be composed of naturally occurring levels and what is technically feasible to achieve. Further, even though companies are complying with California law, it should be noted that what is permitted by California’s Prop 65 is a unique and restrictive standard, not applied anywhere else in the U.S.”
Even before the correction, the article overall provided positive news for vitamin D and calcium supplement users, opening with the statement: “Our latest tests yield some good news for the many people who take a daily vitamin D pill, or one that combines calcium and vitamin D: All of the 32 products met or exceeded their claimed levels of the vitamin, disintegrated or dissolved properly where applicable, and were well below the safe upper limit set by the Institute of Medicine.”
CRN expects a clarification will also run in the June print edition of Consumer Reports. The online article can be read in its entirety here.