Complaint Filed In California Alleges These Young Living Products Contain Lead, But What Does That Mean?

A complaint filed in California alleges that specific products sold by Young Living Essential Oils, LC contains levels of lead that exceed levels allowed without a warning label. The complaint was filed by the Environmental Research Center, Inc. in connection with California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also called Proposition 65. Young Living was named as the defendant in the civil complaint, which was made to the Superior Court of the State of California in Alameda County. The 60 Day Notice document was filed with the State of California’s Office of the Attorney General on June 5, 2015.

According to Alameda County records, a Toxic Tort/Environmental complaint was filed December 1, 2015 and a Complex Determination Hearing has been set for January 1, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. in Oakland, California.

ERC is a non-profit corporation in California with the mission to safeguard the public from exposure to health hazards like lead.

The products alleged by ERC as having levels higher than allowed amounts of lead are Young Living Balance Complete Vanilla Cream, Young Living Power Meal Vanilla Cream, Young Living JuvaPower, Young Living MultiGreens, Young Living ComforTone, Young Living FemiGen, Young Living JuvaTone, and Young Living ICP.

ERC alleges that the levels of lead detected in the products required a “clear and reasonable warning” under California’s Proposition 65, and that Young Living Essential Oils, LC failed to provide that warning. California requires a warning on products “if the total daily lead intake exceeds just 0.5 micrograms,” the Institute for Traditional Medicine reports. A microgram is a unit of mass equal to one billionth of a kilogram or one thousandth of a milligram. The strictest regulatory standards (outside of California’s Proposition 65) is set at 3 ppm of lead in finished products. California’s standard is set way below the lead levels allowed everywhere else. It’s not, according to the Institute for Traditional Medicine, based on scientific analysis of actual risks.

At any rate, ERC alleges in the civil complaint that the popular company’s lack of warnings causes “individuals to be involuntarily and unwittingly exposed to levels” of lead that are not allowed. ERC seeks an injunction against the manufacturing, packaging, distributing, marketing, and sales of the specific products in California without the warnings regarding the risks of cancer, birth defects, and reproductive harm that could be caused by lead exposure.

ERC also seeks civil penalties up to the maximum civil penalty for the alleged offense, which would cost Young Living up to $2,500 per day per exposure. ERC alleges “ongoing violations has occurred on every day since June 5, 2012, as well as every day since the products were introduced in the California marketplace, and will continue every day until clear and reasonable warnings are provided to product purchasers and users.”

While the internet is ablaze with gossip about lead detected in the dietary supplements from Young Living, as it stands, there has been no judgment or settlement made, according to the information provided on the Office of the Attorney General’s website as well as the documentation on the Alameda County website.

The buzz online seems to have popped up after a Hubpages report was posted and shared. That article is no longer published, causing even more theories to be passed around. The story has since been republished by writer Lee Tea at EssentialInfo.

Young Living, best known for its essential oils, is considered a very reputable company among essential oil users and received the Better Business Bureau’s A+ accreditation rating for meeting the agency’s accreditation standards earlier this year.

Young Living asserts that it is the world leader in essential oils, is a member of the Direct Selling Association, and maintains a “strict Seed to Seal process” to honor a promise that “all products are genuine, free of synthetic chemicals, and pure.”

Earlier this year, Young Living and dōTERRA executives were sent overnight warning letters by the Food and Drug Administration because the Administration found fault in both companies’ consultants’ online marketing material. Neither dietary supplements nor essential oils are allowed to be marketed in such a way that suggests the products can prevent, cure, or treat any disease, but consultants from both Young Living and dōTERRA had been seen doing just that, according to the FDA.

It’s important for consumers worried about lead exposure (given the complaint by the non-profit corporation against Young Living) to be aware that many products consumers are comfortable using come with a Proposition 65 warning label. The purpose of Proposition 65 warning labels is, according to the State of California, to notify consumers about exposure so that they can decide on their own if they would like to use the product. The State of California explicitly and clearly states that a Proposition 65 warning “does not necessarily mean a product is in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements.” Even if a judgment is ultimately made that would be deemed unfavorable for Young Living Essential Oils, LC, it does not mean that the products should be seen as dangerous.

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