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 (5,891 Responses)
  1. zithromax 250 mg

    what is zithromax 500mg used for https://zithromaxes.com/ z pak wiki

    April 12, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. zithromax strep throat

    azithromycin and zithromax https://zithromaxes.com/ what is zithromax for

    April 12, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. how much is zithromax

    zythromax https://zithromaxes.com/ zithromax 500

    April 12, 2021 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. zithromax 250mg

    azithromycin 500mg chlamydia side effects https://zithromaxes.com/ zpak for uti

    April 12, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Scottie Chopelas

    Thanks for the helpful post. It is also my belief that mesothelioma has an extremely long latency time period, which means that signs of the disease won't emerge right up until 30 to 50 years after the initial exposure to mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma, that is the most common sort and influences the area across the lungs, might result in shortness of breath, chest pains, plus a persistent cough, which may cause coughing up bloodstream.


    April 12, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ed pills online

    erectile solution ratings https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile stimulus

    April 12, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 먹튀검증

    Exactly what a man of ability! You have the ability to compose excellent factors that you can't find at any place. to envy


    April 12, 2021 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ntc33apk

    Wow, wonderful weblog format! How long have you ever been blogging for?

    you made running a blog look easy. The full look of your website
    is fantastic, let alone the content!

    Have a look at my website ntc33apk

    April 12, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. where can i get zithromax

    zithromax wiki https://zithromaxes.com/ zithromax 250

    April 12, 2021 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. zithromax online no prescription

    what does zithromax cure https://zithromaxes.com/ zitromax 500 mg

    April 12, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. buy zithromax online

    zithromax treats https://zithromaxes.com/ uses for zithromax

    April 12, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. zithromax buy

    zithromax uses treatments https://zithromaxes.com/ what is zithromax prescribed for

    April 12, 2021 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. buy erection pills

    erectile implants https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ review erectile dysfunction pump

    April 12, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Download 3Win8 Android

    Hello, the whole thing is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts,
    that's actually excellent, keep up writing.

    my blog – Download 3Win8 Android

    April 12, 2021 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ace333 Online

    I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post
    is written by him as no one else know such detailed about
    my problem. You are incredible! Thanks!

    Here is my site – ace333 Online

    April 12, 2021 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. mbee.com.vn

    Does your site have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating
    it but, I'd like to shoot you an email. I've got some suggestions for your blog you might be
    interested in hearing. Either way, great website and
    I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

    April 13, 2021 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I'd figured I'd ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a
    blog article or vice-versa? My blog addresses a lot
    of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other.

    If you are interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

    April 13, 2021 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. click here

    Your way of detailing done up this post is usually really fine, all possibly be able to effortlessly recognize it, Thanks a good deal.


    April 13, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. sky777 ios

    Wow, fantastic weblog format! How lengthy have you been running a
    blog for? you made running a blog look easy. The overall look of your site
    is fantastic, as neatly as the content!

    My web-site – sky777 ios

    April 13, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 918kiss-m.com

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the best sites online.

    I will highly recommend this web site!

    Feel free to surf to my webpage mega888 download ios (918kiss-m.com)

    April 13, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Gem 918Kiss Plus

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff
    previous to and you are just too great. I really
    like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you're stating and the way in which you say it.
    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible.
    I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a great site.

    my site :: Gem 918Kiss Plus

    April 13, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. sildenafil coupon

    buy sildenafil in usa https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ drug prices sildenafil

    April 13, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. buy vardenafil over the counter with no pres. online

    vardenafil cost https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil 20mg india manufacturer

    April 13, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. https://mbee.com.vn/

    For hottest news you have to pay a quick visit the web and on web I found this web site
    as a finest website for most up-to-date updates.

    April 13, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. sildenafil 20 mg online india

    where to get sildenafil https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ best sildenafil

    April 13, 2021 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. game slot mega888

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear.
    Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say superb blog!

    Also visit my blog post; game slot mega888

    April 13, 2021 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. calibet slot

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?
    A small number of my blog visitors have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks
    great in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

    Feel free to visit my blog – calibet slot

    April 13, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. us prices on vardenafil

    vardenafil sublingual generic https://vegavardenafil.com/ generic levitra vardenafil 20mg

    April 13, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 카지노사이트

    At this particular price, you can premiere as a writer. I am just so touched. I am delighted to meet you. Give thanks to you.


    April 13, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Gas Station Pills

    Thank you very much I needed this


    April 13, 2021 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. ApPpjjvrac

    cv writing service norwich essay editing buy an essay review little boy calls police for help with math homework

    April 13, 2021 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. vardenafil tablets 20 mg best price

    vardenafil 20mg https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil

    April 13, 2021 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. cheap viagra from canada

    buy viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ buy viagra online from canada

    April 13, 2021 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. edex (alprostadil)

    caverject suppository https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil urethral suppository otc

    April 13, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. MPO500 link

    Thanks a lot because an individual have been willing to help show information with us. we will always take pleasure in all you have carried out in this article because I understand you are really involved with our


    April 14, 2021 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. alprostadil injection where to buy

    alprostadil topical cream https://alprostadildrugs.com/ trimix v alprostadil

    April 14, 2021 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. sky777 agent

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any
    widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and
    was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading
    your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    my website – sky777 agent

    April 14, 2021 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. https://www.songmanhits.com

    I have never seen this view !


    April 14, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 먹튀

    At this kind of price, you can debut as a author. Now i'm so touched. Now i'm cheerful to meet you. Give thanks to you.


    April 14, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Freeman Schuchart

    Of course, what a great site and educative posts, I will bookmark your blog.Have an awsome day!


    April 14, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jodie Mazzei

    Somebody essentially assist to make severely posts I’d state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this particular submit incredible. Fantastic job!|


    April 14, 2021 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Wilbur Brickles

    If some one wishes expert view regarding blogging after that i advise him/her to pay a quick visit this website, Keep up the pleasant work.|


    April 14, 2021 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 먹튀검증

    Cheers to you, I actually mastered something new. Thank anyone so much. I actually look forward to nearby.


    April 14, 2021 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. tadalafil pills

    generic tadalafil united states https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil pills

    April 14, 2021 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. alprostadil urethral suppository

    what is alprostadil https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil generic prices

    April 14, 2021 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Esteban Coder

    Thanks for this wonderful article. Yet another thing to mention is that many digital cameras can come equipped with any zoom lens that enables more or less of any scene to be included by means of 'zooming' in and out. These types of changes in focus length tend to be reflected from the viewfinder and on large display screen at the back of this camera.


    April 14, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. canadian pharmacies ed pills

    canadian pills online https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills online

    April 14, 2021 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. IImXZczhJn

    writing service definition essay on can money buy happiness simple business plan service does homework help us

    April 14, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. eorOGqkwRX

    toefl waiver request letter sample help for essay writing alaska state library live homework help informative essay how to buy a house

    April 15, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. erectile dysfunction pills

    erectile pills without a doctor prescription https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile deficiency

    April 15, 2021 at 02:50 | 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

Post a comment


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.