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 (5,892 Responses)
  1. buy dilaudid online

    Hello everyone, it's my first pay a quick visit at this
    website, and paragraph is in fact fruitful in favor of me,
    keep up posting these types of content.

    March 18, 2021 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. agen casino online terbaik

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site thus i came to go back
    the prefer?.I am trying to to find issues to improve my
    website!I suppose its good enough to make use of
    a few of your ideas!!

    March 18, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. slabway spa shiatsu foot massager review

    At this time it sounds like WordPress is the top blogging platform available right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?


    March 18, 2021 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. plastry na opryszczke na ustach

    Bardzo interesujący temat, doceniam to za wystawienie się plastry na opryszczke na ustach. https://plastrynaopryszczken.pl/

    March 18, 2021 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 성남건마

    For most recent information you have to pay a quick visit world-wide-web and on web I found this site as a
    most excellent website for most recent updates.

    Have a look at my web site: 성남건마

    March 18, 2021 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. flythemes.net

    Wonderful post, you might have denoted out some great points, I also think this s a very wonderful website. I will visit all over again regarding more quality contents and as well, recommend this site for you to all. Thanks.


    March 19, 2021 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. หวย

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future
    and it's time to be happy. I've read this put up and if I may I want to recommend you few attention-grabbing issues or suggestions.
    Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article.

    I want to learn more things approximately it!

    March 19, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. anchor links seo

    Some startups and small startups and small businesseses fail, some startups and small startups and small businesseses succeed. In the past people have been told that startups and small startups and small businesseses fail because of two things. In this article I condense that point down to one essential ingredient that will dictate whether you succeed or fail in anything.


    March 19, 2021 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. https://thuocladientu123.com

    I have never seen this view !


    March 19, 2021 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. sex offender shuffle danganronpa

    w88Unfortunately, Justify Elicit suffers from an teemingness of issues. Unfortunately, the bugs may deter some from exploitation it.


    March 19, 2021 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. gate.io bonus


    March 19, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. National Day Tents Renting European tents


    March 19, 2021 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Anthony Dietrich

    Right here is the right web site for anybody who really wants to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    March 19, 2021 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Window Cleaning Service Belcaro, Denver, CO

    This blog is great check it out


    March 20, 2021 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. seo link building

    By success, I mean making your first $1m million online within one year even as a beginner. By beginner, I mean someone who is new to online startups and small businesses; has less than 10,000 followers; and has not made his or her first $10,000. If you're a beginner and wish to make it big online, in short, you want to be counted a success, read on.


    March 20, 2021 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Best Window Washing Service Near Me Capitol Hill, Denver, CO

    Wow this blog is very nice!

    March 20, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Window Cleaning Service Platt Park, Denver, CO

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    March 20, 2021 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me Curtis Park, Denver, CO

    Thank You for your information


    March 20, 2021 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Window Cleaning Service Athmar Park, Denver, CO

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    March 20, 2021 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me City Park, Denver, CO

    thanks for sharing!


    March 20, 2021 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Best Window Cleaning Service Near Me South Park Hill, Denver, CO

    Wow this blog is very nice!


    March 20, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 안전놀이터 목록

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this site.


    March 20, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 검증사이트

    I am sure this article has touched all the internet people, its really really good article on building up new website.|


    March 20, 2021 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Lamar Loshe

    One of the most important features of a fat tire electric bike is its pedal assist system. This system helps you get more power by applying your thighs to apply pressure on the pedal. This helps you save energy and make sure that you get the maximum speed that you want to go at.


    March 20, 2021 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. thomas delauer sex hormone-binding globulin

    w88Particular events are altogether to a fault vulgar in GFF with modified meter offers on special deals.


    March 20, 2021 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. หวย

    I absolutely love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you
    create this site yourself? Please reply back as I'm trying to create my own personal website and
    want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named.

    March 20, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. sex tongue for licking and sucking prime

    w88Extra events are altogether also green in GFF with express clock offers on particular deals.


    March 20, 2021 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 토토사이트

    You're therefore amazing. Oh my Jesus. Jesus bless you.


    March 20, 2021 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have book marked it for later!

    March 20, 2021 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. antaflue


    March 21, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. https://www.songmanhits.com

    I have never seen this view !


    March 21, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. https://www.shinsen-mart.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    March 21, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. https://www.songmanhits.com

    I have never seen this view !


    March 21, 2021 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Curtis Breakey

    If you lack space or tend to move around a lot, you'll likely prefer the maneuverability of a handheld machine, but if you rely on your food vacuum sealer often, the superior performance and durability of a countertop model may suit you better.


    March 21, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Chứng minh tài chính du học new zealand

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Chứng minh tài chính du học new zealand

    March 22, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 안전놀이터목록

    It's a jealous article. It's very wonderful and innovative. Who can be you to write this kind of special article?


    March 22, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 안전놀이터


    March 22, 2021 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way
    of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    March 22, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 토토


    March 22, 2021 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. FbshEncox

    https://thesisacloud.com/ – thesis database writing the thesis thesis formatting phd by thesis only

    March 22, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. personal ads

    Right now it sounds like Movable Type is the top blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    March 22, 2021 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 대구동구1인샵

    Hi there to every body, it's my first go to see of this
    weblog; this blog contains amazing and really excellent data designed for visitors.

    My web-site; 대구동구1인샵

    March 22, 2021 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 사설토토

    You're thus amazing. Oh my The almighty. Our god bless you.


    March 22, 2021 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. seo

    I was able to find good information from your content.


    March 23, 2021 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Athletes Hernia

    Hello, I enjoy reading through your article post. I like to write a little comment to support you.|


    March 23, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. тест на уровень английского онлайн писюлёк


    March 23, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Tanika Ramstad

    Power slide boards are great for adding resistance to your moves which will increase your upper body strength and transfer those improvements to the pavement.


    March 23, 2021 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. https://shiatsu-web.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    March 23, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. https://shiatsu-web.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    March 23, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. https://shiatsu-web.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    March 23, 2021 at 12:16 | 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 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118

Leave a Reply to Anthony Dietrich


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.