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 (2,634 Responses)
  1. RV Storage Los Angeles

    http://executivelevelselling.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.youtube.com/channel/UChUH5GdtSzHx6V02C90mnfQ/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Repair Sprinter Seat

    http://webgozar.com/feedreader/redirect.aspx?url=https://fleetservicerepairshop.com/van-alignment-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 강남 출장마사지

    There's certainly a great deal to learn about this topic. I like all of the points you've made.

    https://www.seoul-massage.com/

    May 12, 2021 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. best paint shops near me

    http://enseignants.flammarion.com/Banners_Click.cfm?ID=86&URL=ocrv.art/rv-repair-shop-la-verne-california

    May 12, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Technician Los Angeles

    I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I came across this during my hunt for something regarding this.

    https://www.pratt-family.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-anaheim-4

    May 12, 2021 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Fabrication Orange County

    http://www.onewithnaturefitness.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=instagram.com/ocrvcenter

    May 12, 2021 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv alignment shops near me

    https://api.webconnex.com/v1/postmaster/track/click/4f8036d14ee545798599c8921fbfcd22/db005310dba511e89fb606f49a4ee876?url=https://ocrv.xyz/rv-repair-shop-winnetka-california

    May 12, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Van Meter Auto Repair

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am having troubles with your RSS. I don’t know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://www.ty360.com/goto_url.asp?url=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/rv-repair-shop-near-me-2

    May 12, 2021 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Driver Seats Riverside

    http://www.click.miniview.ru/?goto=http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCWA5o3d2u11KvEjA3wLVUA/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv interior furniture

    http://gb-www.digitimes.com.tw/gate/gb/ocrvcenter.co/fleetstar-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 서울출장 마사지

    I couldnít resist commenting. Perfectly written!

    https://www.seoul-massage.com/

    May 12, 2021 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. horse trailer roof repair

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    http://moe.gov.np/site/language/swaplang/1/?redirect=https://ocrv.biz/rv-repair-shop-irvine-california

    May 12, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. trailer service near me

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

    https://www.theweddingsecret.co.uk/BusinessClickthroughs/add?website=https://ocrv.rocks/rv-repair-shop-valley-village-california

    May 12, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv furniture companies

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal website now 😉

    https://www.adultwork.com/SetReferrerCookie.asp?SelUserID=602668&ReferringURL=&TargetURL=https://

    May 12, 2021 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 강남 출장

    https://www.seoul-massage.com/

    May 12, 2021 at 12:09 | 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

Leave a Reply to viagra sin recetas en farmacias de canada


 

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.