home
RSS
October 28th, 2008
01:50 PM ET

Cancer warning labels on products: A cause for concern?

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

For several months I have enjoyed recording digital music files through my keyboard, thanks to a simple device that connects it to my laptop. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that the following label came with it:

WARNING: This product contains chemicals, including lead, known to the State of California to cause cancer, and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.

I freaked out. How could a set of cables attached to a small blue blinking cylinder cause cancer? The USB connector and keyboard inputs seemed harmless enough, and I hadn’t felt obvious symptoms while making music. Was I risking my life for the sake of my four-person fan base?

So I called the company, M-Audio. Apparently, manufacturers have to put this label on certain products to comply with Proposition 65, a California law that requires a warning on anything containing lead or other hazardous substances found to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

Under this law, whose full title is The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, warnings must be placed on products with a chemicals present in amounts larger than what the California government has decided is a “safe harbor number.”

These requirements are pretty strict. For example, for a cancer-causing chemical, according to the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, “a person exposed to the chemical at the ‘no significant risk level’ for 70 years would not have more than a ‘one in 100,000’ chance of developing cancer as a result of that exposure.” So, if there would be more than one excess case of cancer out of 100,000 people over a period of 70 years because of exposure to that amount of the substance, slap on that label.

It’s not just computing equipment. Amazon.com outlines for its customers required warnings for California consumers placed on tools, lead crystal glasses, ceramic tableware, jewelry, Tiffany style lamps, electrical cords, beauty products, and even motor vehicles.

The consequences for violating Proposition 65 can be pretty fierce. One Los Angeles company had to pay a $10 million fine for failing to label lead-tainted lunch boxes (they sold 100,000 of them to the state health department), the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year.

Still, does that mean I have to wash my hands every time I touch the cord? Mark Williams, spokesperson for M-Audio, says, “No! My gosh, no!”

In general, he says, electronics products carry this label because of the materials used in circuit boards, such as lead, for example. It’s not like there’s pesticide sprayed on the surface, he says.

In fact, according to the company’s official statement on the issue, a device with a lead warning might not have any lead at all:

Even in situations where an electronics device is completely free of lead, there is always a chance that standard third-party-manufactured accessories packaged with the device (such as a power cable, USB cable, or power supply) may contain trace amounts of lead. Out of professional diligence and a commitment to fully comply with the law, M-Audio properly marks all applicable products with a Prop 65 lead warning.

Maybe people are used to seeing these labels by now. Williams said mine was the first call he’s received on the issue in his five months in media relations at the company.

So, now I will make my techno versions of acoustic indie songs in relative peace.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (4,885 Responses)
  1. dentist near me

    After I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service? Kudos!

    http://butlerstudyabroad.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=quotenearme.com

    June 17, 2021 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. landfill near me

    This page really has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    http://aquarist-classifieds.co.uk/BANNER-MANAGEMENT/click.php?id=44&url=reviewnearme.com

    June 17, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. gas stations near me

    Great site you have got here.. Itís hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://doctor-navi.com/cgi/hospital-search-engine2/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=14979&url=https://bulknearme.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. gym near me

    I like looking through a post that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

    http://www.porpoisebay.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bestlocalnearme.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. dunkin near me

    Hey there! I simply want to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have got here on this post. I'll be returning to your blog for more soon.

    http://www.skigateway.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=quotenearme.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. kết quả tennis hôm nay

    Trực Tiếp đá Bóng Hôm Naymu vs norwichNếu cứ chơi như cách vừa đè bẹp Everton cho tới 3-1 bên trên sảnh quý khách hàng

    https://virandoamor.com/detail/truc-tiep-bong-da-copa-america-23664.html

    June 17, 2021 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. dog parks near me

    Good information. Lucky me I found your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!

    https://livedocs.my-retail-store.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.bjsnearme.com/

    June 17, 2021 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. dark web sites

    I do not even know how I ended up right here, however I assumed this submit was good. I don't recognise who you are however certainly you're going to a well-known blogger if you happen to aren't already. Cheers!|

    https://cancer.place/index.php/The_World_Wide_Web_Is_A_Major_Element_Of_Most_Lifestyles._Web_Sites_Which_Are_Not_Nicely-created_Don_t_Acquire_Great_Focus._Look_At_This_Article_To_Learn_To_Get_Come_Back_People_To_Your_Blog...._Advice_Num_34_From_172

    June 17, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 카지노사이트

    Good day! I could have sworn Iíve visited this web site before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyways, Iím definitely pleased I came across it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    http://www.hiendlife.com/x1/home.php?mod=space&do=top&view=online&uid=355182

    June 18, 2021 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 카지노 사이트

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the site is also very good.

    https://tinyurl.com/pulzbu27

    June 18, 2021 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. beauty supply store near me

    http://hj.longfencecomplaints.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com

    June 18, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. fish market near me

    https://www.pet-fufu.com/cgi-bin/pet/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=6054&url=https://bestlocalnearme.com

    June 18, 2021 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. spectrum near me

    I like it when people get together and share ideas. Great blog, continue the good work!

    http://validator.webylon.info/check?uri=www.bestservicenearme.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. kia dealer near me

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that produce the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    http://www.mel-belarus.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bestservicenearme.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 우리카지노

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    http://www.wxedu.com.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=689593

    June 18, 2021 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. community colleges near me

    Very good post. I certainly appreciate this website. Keep it up!

    http://charlotteretailproperties.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.nearmyspot.com/

    June 18, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98

Leave a Reply to Demetra


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.