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. http://links.michaelhutter.de/

    It's perfect time to make a few plans for the
    longer term and it is time to be happy. I have read this put up
    and if I may just I wish to recommend you few attention-grabbing issues or advice.
    Perhaps you can write subsequent articles relating to this article.
    I wish to read even more issues approximately it!

    April 21, 2021 at 03:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. generic viagra canada

    do you need a prescription for viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ new viagra in canada

    April 21, 2021 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Kim Kahele


    April 21, 2021 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve visited this site before but after looking at some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely delighted I discovered it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!


    April 21, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jame Karro


    April 21, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Man Steadham

    Hello! I basically need to offer you a major approval for your incredible information you have here on this post. I'll be getting back to your site for all the more soon.


    April 21, 2021 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rollex11 demo id

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
    though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to

    Also visit my web-site; rollex11 demo id

    April 21, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kartu poker

    I want to visit our web site things about it!


    April 21, 2021 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tam compact

    Thanks for finally talking about > Cancer warning labels
    on products: A cause for concern? – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs < Loved it!

    April 21, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Juan Gransky


    April 21, 2021 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Vincent Boughner


    April 21, 2021 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. vardenafil hcl 20mg tab

    vardenafil how to take https://vegavardenafil.com/ generic vardenafil 20mg india

    April 21, 2021 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Brande Iannacone

    That is an excellent tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Basic yet precise data… Thank you for sharing this one. An absolute necessity read post!


    April 21, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Millard Kilduff

    Great article! We are connecting to this especially incredible article on our site. Keep up the extraordinary composition.


    April 21, 2021 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. https://dzprojectideas.club/index.php?page=user&action=pub_profile&id=1714908

    Wow, this piece of writing is good, my sister is
    analyzing such things, thus I am going to let know her.

    April 21, 2021 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Bryce Mcglauflin


    April 21, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ich bin ein Fake Test Portal

    Somebody necessarily assist to make severely posts I'd state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual publish incredible. Magnificent process!|


    April 21, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. window cleaning denver CO

    Thanks for the information.


    April 21, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. alprostadil suppository

    buy muse alprostadil urethral suppository https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil generic prices

    April 21, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 먹튀검증업체

    May I just say what a relief to discover somebody who truly understands what they're discussing on the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular because you definitely have the gift.


    April 21, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. do you need a prescription for viagra in canada

    cheap viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ buy viagra from canada?

    April 21, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 먹튀검증


    April 21, 2021 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Finlay

    Great items from you, man. I have take into account your stuff prior to and you are just extremely great.
    I really like what you have received here, certainly like what you're saying and the
    best way by which you are saying it. You make it enjoyable
    and you continue to take care of to stay it
    wise. I cant wait to read much more from you.
    This is really a wonderful site.

    April 21, 2021 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 먹튀검증

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉


    April 21, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. BibnvmoHRY

    should i do my homework yahoo help me write an essay buy your thesis online do my homework meaning

    April 22, 2021 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 원주스웨디시

    I seriously love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I'm trying to
    create my very own website and would love to find
    out where you got this from or exactly what the
    theme is named. Thanks!

    Have a look at my site 원주스웨디시

    April 22, 2021 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. dofollow

    Uitstekende en zeer opwindende site. Graag kijken. Blijf rocken.


    April 22, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. order tadalafil

    tadalafil https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil 40

    April 22, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. lRJiLLhhMj

    critical analysis essay for some lessons from the assembly line help with biology ib extended essay homework help metric conversion a level coursework help

    April 22, 2021 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. following article

    A very excellent post. My spouse and i feel thankful for your website blog post. I have found some sort of lot of methods right after visiting your publish.


    April 22, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. canadian customs pills vitamins

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian diet pills

    April 22, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. fishscale coke

    If you want to increase your knowledge only keep visiting
    this site and be updated with the most recent information posted here.

    April 22, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. 출장안마가격

    Asking questions are genuinely pleasant thing if you are not
    understanding something entirely, however this paragraph offers pleasant understanding yet.

    April 22, 2021 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. canadian weight loss pills

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills pharmacy

    April 22, 2021 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. vardenafil dosage maximum

    vardenafil https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil cvs

    April 22, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Adolfo Chaudet


    April 22, 2021 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. staxyn (vardenafil)

    vardenafil 10 mg https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil teva pharmaceutical

    April 22, 2021 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. LrbsEncox

    levitra 3 free trial voucher viagra cialis levitra for sale 40 mg levitra too much

    April 22, 2021 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. click here

    this was a wonderful chance to pay a visit to this kind of web-site and My partner and i am content to know. thank you to get giving us a good opportunity to have this chance.


    April 23, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. 3D printing

    77021 553028Id always want to be update on new content material on this website , saved to fav! . 419840

    April 23, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. zithromax over the counter

    zithro https://zithromaxes.com/ z pak 500 mg

    April 23, 2021 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. how to adminiter transurethral alprostadil muse video

    erection injection medicine https://alprostadildrugs.com/ ed medications injectable

    April 23, 2021 at 04:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Buy Google Voice accounts

    Niche Blog But I don't can reach with Opera Browser.Anyway such a Nice writing skrill. Best of Luck for your future writing experinec.Thanks


    April 23, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. 먹튀검증업체

    I was very pleased to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new things on your blog.


    April 23, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. canada viagra

    generic viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra canada purchase

    April 23, 2021 at 07:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. 먹튀검증사이트


    April 23, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Buy Google Voice accounts

    Hi, I want to subscribe for this website to take newest updates,thus where can i do it please assist.


    April 23, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Antonieta

    Does anyone know what happened to Dimepiece LA celebrity streetwear brand? I am unable to proceed to the checkout on Dimepiecela site. I have read in Vogue that the brand was bought out by a UK hedge fund for $50 m. I've just bought the Meditate HeavyBlend Crewneck Sweatshirt from Amazon and absolutely love it xox


    April 23, 2021 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Buy Google voice number

    Howdy extremely cool site!! Man .. Great .. Awesome .. I'll bookmark your blog and take the feeds moreover?


    April 23, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. tadalafil

    generic tadalafil 40 mg https://elitadalafill.com/ generic tadalafil

    April 23, 2021 at 10:35 | 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.