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. 제주도 룸

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I really thought you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    April 30, 2021 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. FJyaSybUqD

    homework help for physical science graduate school application essay help help with math homework fractions lighthouse homework help

    April 30, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. avanafil

    avana 100 mg buy avanafil usa

    April 30, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RfvbZisse

    lilly cialis 20mg https://cileve.com/ cialis paypal accepted australia

    April 30, 2021 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 바둑이사이트

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this information.


    April 30, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Ira Maalouf

    Of course, the more powerful trimmers usually pack a heftier price tag. But I promise you; this is not an area where you want to bargain shop.


    April 30, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Elizabet Coluccio

    The best trimmer for balls, no matter which style you choose, uses ceramic technology to keep hair close to the skin. These innovative devices provide an exceptional close trim as well as a close shave because they eliminate the need for shaving close to the root.


    April 30, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Walker Sylvestre

    You’re probably wondering by now which of these trimmers is the best for shaving your balls? I honestly think that any of these options are a smart choice, even if you’re new to the world of manscaping.


    April 30, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. chloroquine malaria

    is chloroquine safe https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# chloroquine natural sources

    May 1, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Graciela Wolner

    When looking at what is the best smart clock, it is a good idea to look at which ones offer these functionalities and which do not.


    May 1, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. remote control egg

    Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you're working
    with? I'm looking to start my own blog in the near future but I'm having a tough time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs
    and I'm looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    May 1, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ed pills

    erectile aid device https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile rehabilitation program

    May 1, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. aralen buy online

    chloroquine phosphate tablet https://chloroquineorigin.com/ cloroquina 250 mg

    May 1, 2021 at 05:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. avanafil

    buy avanafil usa avanafil india

    May 1, 2021 at 06:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. viagra in canada for sale to united states

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

    May 1, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    canadian pills pharmacy https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian diet pills

    May 1, 2021 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. low cost web hosting sites

    Hi! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs up for your great information you've got right here on this post. I am returning to your web site for more soon.


    May 1, 2021 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. locksmith


    May 1, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. dank carts

    naturally like your web site but you need to test the spelling on several of your posts.
    Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very
    troublesome to inform the truth then again I'll surely come back again.

    May 1, 2021 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. dank carts

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the
    book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to
    drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog.

    A great read. I will definitely be back.

    May 1, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. fysFzvaEtl

    custom writing mug judicial review essay help will writing service worthing do my college paper for me

    May 1, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. ed treatment tablets

    is erectile dysfunction treatable https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile diffusion

    May 1, 2021 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. can you buy viagra over the counter in canada?

    best viagra pills 25 mg canada pharmarcy https://canadaviagrastore.com/ canada pharmacy viagra

    May 1, 2021 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. generic viagra from canada

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

    May 1, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. buy ghb

    I blog frequently and I truly appreciate your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.
    I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once a week.

    I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

    May 1, 2021 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. best viagra pills 25 mg canada pharmarcy

    viagra purchase from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ what is the brand name for the generic drug for viagra in canada

    May 1, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil drug class https://boxtadafil.com/ thuoc tadalafil 20 mg

    May 1, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LhdvZisse

    free cialis online http://asciled.com/ – cialis for cheap getting cialis in bc

    May 1, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 먹튀검증

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 1, 2021 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Edda Bealle

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 1, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. FbsfEncox

    drugs online https://uspharmus.com/ Lumigan

    May 1, 2021 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. MyfgpucqtH

    can i hire someone to do my homework persuasive essay on not doing drugs order homework customer service writing training

    May 2, 2021 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. LhdvZisse

    cheap cialis with dapoxetine http://asciled.com/ cost of cialis 20mg

    May 2, 2021 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Jospeh Kretzer

    When it comes to ordering the best shower radio, it is better if you order it online. This way, you can save time and money. Of course, this also guarantees that you'll get to choose from many models. However, make sure that you're getting the right model.


    May 2, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 먹튀검증

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely think this amazing site needs far more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!


    May 2, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. viagra sale canada

    viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra canada over the counter

    May 2, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. canadian pharmacy for cialis

    cialis on line purches canadian pharmacy https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis on line purches canadian pharmacy

    May 2, 2021 at 05:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Maurice Clickner

    The easiest way to classify canister vacuums is by their size. Canister appliances are generally smaller and lighter than their upright counterparts. This is primarily because it takes more space to store upright vacuums when they are full sized. Canister appliances are designed to be more easily stored away when not in use.


    May 2, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Doris

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you're working with?
    I'm looking to start my own blog soon but I'm having a difficult
    time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs
    and I'm looking for something unique.
    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    May 2, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Azalee Labombar

    You need to make sure that you find the best solar spotlights brand. You will be able to place them anywhere in your yard and on any part of your deck. They are available at all different prices and you can shop around for the best one for the best price. You will also have many different options to choose from.


    May 2, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Deana Borgman

    Thank you so much for helping me.


    May 2, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Tressa Frisco

    It comes with a powerful motor that is capable of maneuvering over tough dirt, rocks, and other obstacles. Consumer reports recommend this model as one of the best canister vacuums on the market and one that is very easy to use.


    May 2, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Chu Collazo

    There are a number of different styles of canister vacuum cleaners on the market today. You need to consider the type of dirt that you typically find in your carpet or your hard flooring. The more common household items are those that can be easily untangled and cleaned with minimal effort.


    May 2, 2021 at 07:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Website Hosting

    I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work
    and coverage! Keep up the amazing works guys I've included you guys to our blogroll.

    May 2, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. cvs erectile products

    erectile specialist https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ when does erectile dysfunction start

    May 2, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. canadian diet pills

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

    May 2, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Domain

    Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further post thanks once again.

    May 2, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ed medication

    erectile dementia https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile medical vacuum pump

    May 2, 2021 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    May 2, 2021 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. erection pills viagra online

    is erectile dysfunction life threatening https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ can erectile dysfunction be mental

    May 2, 2021 at 09:34 | 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.