Alameda, CA–The Environmental Research Center is suing Gamma Enterprises, LLC, doing business as Gamma Labs, over its energy supplement G Fuel, for not providing warning labels on 18 products that allegedly contain lead in violation of California’s Health and Safety Code, November court documents obtained by VPEsports show.
Gamma Labs is being accused of allegedly producing, packaging, and selling products that contain more than the “safe harbor” daily dosage of lead as defined in California’s Proposition 65. Lead, according to the State of California is known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm; there is no known level of exposure that is considered safe, especially in children.
Gamma Labs was served with a “60-Day Notice of Proposition 65 Violation” on August 25, 2017 which gave the company a 60-day window to remedy the violation(s) or be taken to civil court if the appropriate public agencies did not act. The ERC’s notice to Gamma Labs demanded that the company reformulate the listed products to eliminate further exposures to lead; pay an appropriate civil penalty; and provide clear and reasonable warnings compliant with Proposition 65 to all persons located in California who purchased the above products in the last three years.
Failure to comply is enforceable by penalties of up to $2,500 per day, per violation-the allegations in the lawsuit go all the way back to 2014.
According to the Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Civil Penalties filed on Nov. 13, 2017 by the ERC, Gamma Labs did not respond and now faces a lawsuit.
The ERC claims to have hired a “well-respected and accredited testing laboratory” that tested the 18 G Fuel products suspected of containing lead. According to the filed documents, the tests showed that the products were in violation of the 0.5 ug/day lead limits as noted in Prop 65. The suit also explains that the ingestion of lead is much more significant as opposed to other methods such as dermal exposure.
The Gamma Labs G Fuel supplement is very popular in the esports space, sponsoring teams such as Team Kaliber, 100Thieves, and FaZe Clan. Other esports organization owners, players, and popular streamers are also partnered with G Fuel and have on numerous occasions given away the product as a prize for following certain streaming and social media accounts.
In at least five give-aways shown to VPEsports, there were no rules stated or listed in terms of minimum age required to participate. In 2015, the New York Time told the story of Finley Sturzaker, a 14-year old Australian boy that purchased several tubs of G Fuel only to have it taken away by his father. And then in 2016, a 10-year old boy from Plymouth, Boston was hospitalized after consuming G Fuel that was given to him by a classmate.
New York WABC-TV’s Stacey Sager did a report on G Fuel, exploring the company’s marketing strategy to children.
“They’re being advertised to, while they’re gaming, while they’re not in front of their parents, it’s almost like a free for all,” Dr. Schneider said in the report, an adolescent physician who has studied the effects of energy drinks.
“The criticism is that you are directly marketing to the teens,” Eyewitness News Reporter Stacey Sager said to CEO of Gamma Labs Clifford Morgan.
“Well I could buy television commercials on Nickelodeon, like a lot of my competitors on the Discovery Network or History Channel, but at the end of the day, I think that we’re smarter than they are,” was Morgan’s reply.
And while there is a disclaimer on the GFuel website stating, “All users of our website must be over the age of 18. Anyone under the age of 18 must cease use of this website! Parents and Legal Guardians’ of anyone under the age of 18 must monitor their usage of our website. If you are under 18, cease use of this web site,” G Fuel product is being given away by some without age restrictions at events such as TwitchCon, ComicCon, MLG and others.
When reached, both parties declined comment, with the ERC stating they have a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place are are currently in settlement negotiations.
Notice of Violation of California Health and Safety Code – Proposition 65 Notice and products affected – Notice Download (.pdf)
Civil Case #: RG17881989 – Environmental Research Center v. Gamma Enterprises LLC – Superior Court of California/Alameda County – G Fuel Lawsuit Download (.pdf)