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. 온라인바둑이

    Iím amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.


    April 28, 2021 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. dapoxetine

    dapoxetine tablet priligy for sale uk

    April 28, 2021 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. canadian pharmacy generic cialis

    canadian pharmacy cialis without prescription https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis canadian pharmacy

    April 28, 2021 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. priligy

    dapoxetine india priligy uk

    April 28, 2021 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. remi poker online

    Hey There. I discovered your blog the usage of
    msn. This is a very neatly written article.
    I'll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful
    info. Thank you for the post. I'll definitely comeback.

    April 28, 2021 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. GtZlxdJYjG

    a girl doing homework chronological order descriptive essay doing a research paper in apa format best resume writing service atlanta

    April 28, 2021 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. canada pharmacies viagra

    viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ canada pharmacies viagra

    April 29, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. canada online viagra

    canada online viagra https://canadaviagrastore.com/ how much is viagra in canada

    April 29, 2021 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. how can i order cialis from a canadian pharmacy

    canadian pharmacy for cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian pharmacy cialis without prescription

    April 29, 2021 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. instantboostup

    Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE,


    April 29, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. bao gia vach ngan ve sinh

    If some one desires to be updated with latest technologies then he must be visit this
    website and be up to date everyday.

    April 29, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. how can i order cialis from a canadian pharmacy

    how can i order cialis from a canadian pharmacy https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian pharmacy 5 mg daily cialis

    April 29, 2021 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. sildenafil prescription uk

    best sildenafil brand https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil gel uk

    April 29, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 온라인바둑이

    I used to be able to find good advice from your blog articles.


    April 29, 2021 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tory Krivak

    There are a number of different air conditioners that fit into different price ranges and people should really think about what they are willing to spend on the air conditioner before they start looking around.


    April 29, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 바둑이

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the website is very good.


    April 29, 2021 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your web site unintentionally, and I am stunned why this coincidence didn't came about in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

    April 29, 2021 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. TglIWxIPpn

    essay in civil service a community service essay homework help la can you pay someone to do your coursework

    April 29, 2021 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. comercial van sprayers


    April 29, 2021 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. priligy

    priligy without a doctor prescription priligy pills usa

    April 29, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. adderall

    This page really has all the info I wanted concerning this subject
    and didn't know who to ask.

    April 29, 2021 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Short-term cash loans

    Thank You for your information


    April 29, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 소액결제현금화

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for cancer

    April 29, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. signature window washing denver

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!


    April 29, 2021 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. priligy

    priligy uk price priligy tablets for sale

    April 29, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. window cleaning denver CO

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You're doing a great job Man,Keep it up.


    April 29, 2021 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. https://www.shinsen-mart.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    April 29, 2021 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Kay

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this site is in fact

    April 29, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Payday Loan consolidation

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.


    April 29, 2021 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. canadian pharmacies ed pills

    canadian pills pharmacy https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    April 29, 2021 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. priligy

    priligy tablets for sale priligy 30 mg

    April 29, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. buy generic cialis, canadian

    canadian meds cialis https://canadacialisstore.com/ how safe and reliable are canadian cialis

    April 29, 2021 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Romeo Liskey

    Hi I am trying to preview articles from blogger on a separate site, where the most recent article would show up and could link to the blog itself. I have googled enough and read about rss. I can code html, xml etc. I would really appreciate any help.


    April 29, 2021 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. giá vách ngăn vệ sinh

    Having read this I believed it was really informative.

    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this
    short article together. I once again find myself spending a significant
    amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    April 29, 2021 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 사설바둑이

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your blog.


    April 29, 2021 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. chloroquine prophylaxis

    choloquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ hloroquine

    April 29, 2021 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 바둑이사이트

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thanks for providing this info.


    April 30, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Granville Suzuki

    The best postal scales fall under two separate categories – postal scales that are water-resistant and non-waterproof. In choosing a water-resistant scale, you need to check its resilience to various pressures, including salt spray, high temperature, extreme weather and vacuum.


    April 30, 2021 at 01:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. scifondo.eu

    thanks this is certainly good blog page.


    April 30, 2021 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. avana

    buy avanafil usa buy avana canada

    April 30, 2021 at 03:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RfvbZisse

    oryginal cialis https://cileve.com/ – buy brand cialis online cheap cialis canadian

    April 30, 2021 at 05:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. POKFpMdWuA

    performance pay for teachers essay write my essay reviews order research paper homework help las vegas

    April 30, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. avanafil

    avanafil buy avana 50 mg

    April 30, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. LrbsEncox

    non prescription levitra http://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra cost at walmart

    April 30, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. clorochina

    chloroquinone https://chloroquineorigin.com/ anti-malaria drug chloroquine

    April 30, 2021 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Nakia Leier

    These keyboards have lights at the back of the keyboard itself. This means that the entire keyboard is lit up and easy to see. The best backlit keyboard lifespan will ensure that the lights last for several years.


    April 30, 2021 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Oralia Mciwraith

    These keyboards have lights at the back of the keyboard itself. This means that the entire keyboard is lit up and easy to see. The best backlit keyboard lifespan will ensure that the lights last for several years.


    April 30, 2021 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jessie Keep

    This type of keyboard has a great function in making sure you can type on the computer the way you want. It also makes it easier for you to highlight certain words and even highlight links. But how do you choose the best backlit keyboard?


    April 30, 2021 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Josiah Parent

    The fourth thing that you should look for is the type of lighting provided by the backlit keyboard. There are several types including LED, moonlight and fluorescent. LED is the best choice if you need a bright LED light at the bottom of the keyboard.


    April 30, 2021 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. new viagra in canada

    getting viagra from canada with no prescription https://canadaviagrastore.com/ buying viagra in canada

    April 30, 2021 at 10:00 | 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.