We had a call from Anna, one of our lovely customers, the other day. "I've just received my Redmond Earthpaste from you guys," she said, "and I'm confused. On the package it says that it may contain traces of lead. Should I be using this?"
I love getting calls like this from customers. I love that our customers read packaging, and I love that they come and ask us when they're not sure. (I also love that they're just so lovely when they call and ask us stuff like this!)
Here's what the packaging on Redmond Earthpaste says:
[California Residents Proposition 65] WARNING: This product may contain trace amounts of lead, a substance known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. This product may not be appropriate for consumption by children or pregnant women.
Now, of course, I'd done my research before adding Redmond Earthpastes to the Hello Charlie website, so I was completely happy to be stocking this one, and indeed was already using it at home.
But I'd forgotten that people can't read my mind (doh), and I really should have written an explanation and posted it. So I'm very grateful to Anna for bringing this to my attention, and here's what I explained to her.
Let's start by having a look at the explanation on the Redmond Earthpaste website (love the handy infographic on here, by the way!). And there is also information on Proposition 65 on the California Government website.
Basically, as Redmond Earthpaste is made with bentonite clay, it contains trace elements of naturally occurring lead. Under California law, companies have to notify customers if there are particular chemicals in products that they purchase, whether or not those chemicals are natural or synthetic, and even if there are only tiny amounts.
For further reading, you can also have a look at the EPA (the US Environmental Protection Agency) on lead.
Natural levels of lead in soil are about 50 and 400 parts per million, and the Redmond Earthpastes have about 12 parts per million. So it's a trace element, very low indeed, and is safe for use.