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 (4,578 Responses)
  1. 전주출장마사지

    Great information. Lucky me I came across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!

    http://ys63.net/bbs/home.php?mod=space&uid=42456

    June 13, 2021 at 01:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 케이출장

    I was able to find good information from your content.

    https://www.transtats.bts.gov/exit.asp?url=https://k-anma.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. shoe stores near me

    http://www.eprotea.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. poke near me

    Great web site you have here.. Itís hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    https://gvomail.com/redir.php?k=1560a19819b8f93348a7bc7fc28d0168&url=https://bestlocalnearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. nurseries near me

    https://innuityweb.myregisteredsite.com/admin/membership_agreement.php?partnerID=3185&domain=bestshopnearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. bong da u23 viet nam truc tiep

    Trực Tiếp Bóng Đá Việt Nam Vs Lebanon. Xem Truc Tiep Bong Da. Futsal Việt Namviệt nam malaysia 10/10Trên băng ghế đào tạo, Lebanon đã xẻ nhiệm Ramiro Lopez cách đây 3 tuần. Nhà nắm quân người Tây Ban Nha chủ yếu ớt thực hiện việc trên Ý và từng có thời gian làm việc tại Kuwait.|Và NHM bóng đá Việt Nam đang hóng Minh Trí cùng đồng đội hóa giải đối thủ để tạo lợi thế đến trận lượt về sau đây hai ngày. Chelsea đã nên trải qua 8 phút bù giờ khó thở đảm bảo thành công.

    https://sepiswestwood.com/detail/duc-vs-tbn-77798.html

    June 13, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. mu psg

    Trực Tiếp Soccer Việt Nam Vs Lebanon. Xem Truc Tiep Bong Da. Futsal Việt Namtrực tiếp copa america 2019Trên băng ghế giảng dạy, Lebanon đã xẻ nhiệm Ramiro Lopez cách đây 3 tuần. Nhà cầm quân người Tây Ban Nha chủ yếu đuối làm việc tại Ý và từng có thời hạn thực hiện việc trên Kuwait.|Và NHM bóng đá Việt Nam đang được đợi Minh Trí cùng đồng đội hóa giải đối thủ để tạo lợi thế đến trận lượt về sau đây hai ngày. Chelsea đã phải trải qua 8 phút bù giờ không thở được đảm bảo thành công.

    https://chiefscreolecafe.com/detail/cakhiatv-bong-da-94074.html

    June 13, 2021 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. mcdonalds near me

    http://www.hogwarts.be/frame.php?url=https://www.bestlocalnearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. EncoxGtv

    canadian pharmacies online review Valtrex rimadyl canadian pharmacy

    June 13, 2021 at 02:46 | 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

Leave a Reply to https://www.yamatocosmos.com


 

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.