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 (1,885 Responses)
  1. takipçi satın al

    What's up Dear, are you truly visiting this web site on a regular basis, if so
    then you will definitely get good knowledge.

    April 17, 2021 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. takipçi satın al

    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine
    Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords
    but I'm not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share.

    April 17, 2021 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. takipçi satın al

    It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info.
    I'm happy that you shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    April 17, 2021 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. check here

    Thanks because anyone have been willing in order to talk about information with you. we will always love all you have done here because I understand you are incredibly concerned with our


    April 18, 2021 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ed meds

    does erectile dysfunction come on suddenly https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ cheapest erectile med

    April 18, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. dewapoker

    Admiring the time plus effort you put directly into your weblog and comprehensive information you offer!.


    April 18, 2021 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    This post is really a fastidious one it helps new the web people, who
    are wishing for blogging.

    April 18, 2021 at 05:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. แทงหวย

    Thank you for the good writeup. It if truth be told was a entertainment
    account it. Glance complex to more added agreeable from you!
    However, how can we communicate?

    April 18, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. vardenafil 20mg india manufacturer

    vardenafil generic https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil nortwest pharmacy

    April 18, 2021 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. viagra sin recetas en farmacias de canada

    is it illegal to by viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ buy viagra online from canada

    April 18, 2021 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. https://mbee.com.vn/dia-chi-ban-vach-ngan-ve-sinh-compact-tai-ho-chi-minh-hcm/

    Whats up this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering
    if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to
    manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance
    from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly

    April 18, 2021 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 먹튀검증


    April 18, 2021 at 22:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Pokerlounge99

    Wow! Thanks! I actually have wanted to enter in the webblog a little something similar to that


    April 19, 2021 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. kqLWBvzZqY

    i couldnt do my homework poem help with biology ib extended essay custom wrting help me with my algebra 2 homework

    April 19, 2021 at 01:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. dewa poker

    Hi there friends, its wonderful article about educationand fully defined, keep it up all the time.

    April 19, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. private car services

    Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was
    wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I'm getting fed up of WordPress because I've had problems with hackers and I'm looking at options for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the
    direction of a good platform.

    my page: private car services

    April 19, 2021 at 03:02 | 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

Leave a Reply to http://google.co.id/url?q=https://pathblog.info


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.

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.