Sacramento, CA— As of Dec. 4, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has added Aloe vera, non-decolorized whole leaf extract, and Goldenseal root powder to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Environment Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) list of chemicals “known to the State of California to cause cancer.”
In the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) publication “Agents classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1-112,” Aloe vera, whole leaf extract (the liquid portion—which is differentiated from Aloe vera decolorized whole leaf extract, Aloe vera gel or latex— and goldenseal root powder are listed in Group 2B, meaning they are “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on experimental animal studies. California regulations require for any substance identified as causing cancer by authoritative bodies like the IARC to be listed under Prop 65.
After considering remarks made during the public comment period, from April 24 to June 9, 2015, the OEHHA amended its original listing for “Aloe vera, whole leaf extract”  with the addition of the term “non-decolorized.” While several comments—made by the American Herbal Products Association, American Herbalists Guild, Botanical Liaisons, Labs Pejoseca, Natural Products Association, Coats AgriAloe and others— criticized the IARC’s scientific basis for its classification of Aloe vera, whole leaf extract, e.g., suggesting the studies used “unnatural, unrealistic” amounts of the substance, the OEHHA has emphasized that listings “are ministerial in nature; therefore OEHHA does not review the scientific basis for IARC’s evaluation and decision.”
The International Aloe Science Council (IASC) released an official statement Dec. 10 to assure consumers that IASC-certified products do not contain the newly flagged Aloe vera based-substance, saying “’Aloe vera, non-decolorized whole leaf extract,’ is not an ingredient sold by IASC members, nor is it used in finished consumer products that have earned the IASC certification seal.  All IASC Aloe vera products that comply with the strict requirements for certification do not contain the Aloe vera ingredient recently added to the California Prop 65 list.”
As Jane Wilson, executive director of IASC notes, the OEHHA’s identification of Aloe vera, non-decolorized whole leaf extract specifically “provides a reference to the aloe ingredients that are not included in this listing, specifically Aloe vera decolorized whole leaf extract, Aloe vera gel, and Aloe vera gel extract…These aloe ingredients are used in IASC certified products.”
Businesses will have a 12-month grace period to add a standard consumer warning message to products containing these substances.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2016, Online 12/9/2015. Edited 12/10/2015 to include IASC statement.