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AHPA's McGuffin Attends OEHHA Meetings; Revised Prop 65 Backgrounder Available to Members

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) announces the release of the newly-revised “Background on California Proposition 65: Issues related to heavy metals and herbal products.” The document is available for download exclusively to AHPA members on the association’s Web site.

Originally released in 2004 and co-authored by AHPA President Michael McGuffin and Trent Norris (Arnold & Porter LLP), AHPA’s Counsel for California Proposition 65, “Background on California Proposition 65: Issues related to heavy metals and herbal products” provides invaluable information on the regulatory and liability implications of Proposition 65 on heavy metals that may be present in herbal products sold in the State of California.

AHPA has long been involved in issues related to Proposition 65, and President Michael McGuffin is a recognized expert on the law. On December 3, McGuffin attended a meeting of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) on the topic of warnings for food products that contain Proposition 65-listed chemicals. The meeting was held to request public input on concepts developed by OEHHA in conjunction with its food warning workgroup, to which McGuffin was appointed in May 2008. Recognizing that “food is different” from most other consumer products, the group has focused its attention on considering amendments to existing warning regulations by adding specific options for both the method and content for warnings for exposures to listed chemicals in foods. Adherence to any such regulatory options could provide conditional protection from liability to food retailers and manufacturers.

“AHPA appreciates OEHHA’s investment of resources in trying to craft regulations that can work for both marketers of foods, and for each of us as food consumers,” said McGuffin. “Pragmatic options should be developed to provide clear and reasonable warnings for the many foods that may require warnings under California law without branding grocery stores as dangerous places.”

McGuffin attended a separate OEHHA meeting on December 12 to consider regulations that would provide certain exceptions to exposures to chemicals that are both human or plant nutrients and are listed as carcinogens or reproductive toxins under Proposition 65. AHPA filed comments to OEHHA’s initial draft regulation on this matter, and opposed OEHHA’s proposals therein to limit its definition of “beneficial nutrients” to just those with an established daily value or allowance, and to set exposure thresholds based on a nutrient’s recommended daily allowance or an arbitrary percentage of its tolerable upper intake level. Each of these points was removed from OEHHA’s second draft and replaced with an idea to address each nutrient on a case-by-case basis. Although the second draft was the identified subject of the December 12 meeting, most of the meeting was devoted to discussions of the possible Proposition 65 listing of boron and manganese.

“AHPA’s involvement in Prop 65 is essential to all AHPA’s members,” said McGuffin. “The extensive work on this issue by the association has established AHPA as a leader in representing and addressing Prop 65 issues for the herbal products and dietary supplement industries.”


If you are an AHPA member, the backgrounder is available for download here:

Information on the Dec. 3 OEHHA meeting is available at “AHPA’s McGuffin Chosen for OEHHA Prop 65 Workgroup” here

More information on the Dec. 12 OEHHA meeting is available online at

AHPA comments to OEHHA on the matter of the definition of “beneficial nutrients” are here:

Read “AHPA Requests OEHHA Withdraw Proposed Prop 65 Language on Beneficial Nutrients” here

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the only national trade association devoted to herbal issues. Representing the core of the botanical trade—comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products—our mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbal products are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website:

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