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. game slot greatwall99

    Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate
    a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems
    finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Review my webpage: game slot greatwall99

    May 26, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. tausAffessy

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ cialis without a prescription tadalafil cost in canada where to get tadalafil tadalafil price walmart

    May 26, 2021 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Wraps Near Me

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be exciting to read articles from other writers and practice something from their sites.


    May 26, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rv plumbing leak

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!


    May 26, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. buy ghb online

    These are truly wonderful ideas in about blogging.
    You have touched some good points here. Any way
    keep up wrinting.

    May 26, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Windshield Near Me


    May 26, 2021 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. toy haulers california

    http://www.aslplayerservices.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=kafuco.ac.ke/scit/index.php/item/4-oxford-s-part-in-a-new -multiple-sclerosis-drug-adipisicing-elit-sed-do-eiusmod-tempor?start=298090

    May 26, 2021 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sharice Liddle

    I'm going to do a presentation about thebillboard website . I need some informations about how is started ? and if there is a story behind its starting , and I need to know why it's important for the media's life ? Alos, what does it do ?.


    May 26, 2021 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. combigan

    buy generic combigan combigan eye drops

    May 26, 2021 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Rayford Hegre

    Thing is, I've just migrated to WordPress. However, I have a number of people who have subscribed to my feeds from my blogger blog. What should I do to ensure that they now receive updates from my WordPress blog? . . FYI, I have a feedburner account..


    May 26, 2021 at 02:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Julius Hynes

    I am working on an educational website and the owners wanted an article section where I put articles they indicate on the site. The articles come from news/magazine and other online article/new sources. I have been listing ?Article Taken From: (URL)? and a link to the original article. I thought that was enough, but I have heard from a friend that it isn?t. . This site is NOT yet publicly online, so I can change things to be legal before it becomes a legal problem.. . What do I need as a citation to make sure I don?t infringe on anyone?s copyright?. Do I need to do anything else other than listing a citation & link to be legal?. . Thank You all for helping!. SRGR.


    May 26, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. avana

    buy avana online avanafil cost

    May 26, 2021 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Tembepteriope

    canada generic tadalafil side effects for tadalafil tadalafil daily online tadalafil without a doctor prescription https://tadalafilww.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. mcd shades troubleshooting

    I like reading an article that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


    May 26, 2021 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tembepteriope

    tadalafil price walmart https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil dosage tadalafil online with out prescription cheapest tadalafil cost prescription tadalafil online

    May 26, 2021 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. avana

    avana drug avanafil stendra dosage

    May 26, 2021 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Unitmerienepeft

    best price usa tadalafil https://tadalafilww.com/ – canada generic tadalafil where to order tadalafil tablets cialis at canadian pharmacy tadalafil dosage

    May 26, 2021 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. rv entertainment system upgrade


    May 26, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Technician Riverside


    May 26, 2021 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 마사지

    That is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    May 26, 2021 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Repair Los Angeles


    May 26, 2021 at 04:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. vách ngăn vệ sinh

    I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my
    own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup?
    I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I'm not very web smart so I'm not 100% certain. Any tips or advice would be
    greatly appreciated. Many thanks

    May 26, 2021 at 04:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV AC Orange County

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying this information.


    May 26, 2021 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Tembepteriope

    tadalafil side effects cialis cost cialis without prescription cheap cialis pills for sale https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – cheapest tadalafil cost

    May 26, 2021 at 04:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Unitmerienepeft

    cialis without a prescription https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil cost in canada cialis without a prescription tadalafil generic where to buy https://cttadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 04:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Tritreviewifind

    best price usa tadalafil tadalafil brands where to buy tadalafil on line https://tadalafilww.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 04:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Unitmerienepeft

    cialis without a prescription https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ – tadalafil online tadalafil without a doctor prescription buy tadalafil cheapest tadalafil cost

    May 26, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. nearest rv repair


    May 26, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 출장 안마

    This excellent website truly has all of the information and facts I needed about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    May 26, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Derrick Vanry

    I'm looking joomla template to design site for one hindu temple.? Any suggestion for template and components for Joomla ?. Mainly looking for event details , picture gallery and blogs..


    May 26, 2021 at 05:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Seats Near Me


    May 26, 2021 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. avana

    avanafil stendra avana drug

    May 26, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Unitmerienepeft

    buy generic cialis online with mastercard cialis cost cost of cialis tadalafil goodrx https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – cost tadalafil generic

    May 26, 2021 at 06:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Storage Los Angeles


    May 26, 2021 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. avanafil

    buy avana usa avanafil 50

    May 26, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. redtube store

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Many thanks!


    May 26, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. rv repair orange county ca


    May 26, 2021 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. CrulkAsd

    levitra vs cialis https://cialisjla.com/ – cialis for sale viagra cialis canada

    May 26, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. avanafil

    avanafil stendra avanafil buy

    May 26, 2021 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Maintenance Los Angeles

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 26, 2021 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. tausAffessy

    tadalafil cost in canada https://tadalafilol.com/ – tadalafil tadalafil generic where to buy tadalafil price walmart generic cialis tadalafil

    May 26, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Internet Marketing Specialists

    You are so interesting! I don't think I've truly read through something like that before. So wonderful to find someone with original thoughts on this subject. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!


    May 26, 2021 at 09:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Fabrication Riverside


    May 26, 2021 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Cabinet Near Me

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.


    May 26, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. paint repair near me


    May 26, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. 출장 안마

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me dinner because I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this matter here on your web page.


    May 26, 2021 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. combigan

    generic brimonidine combigan generic

    May 26, 2021 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Zisseloh

    cialis refractory period https://rcialisgl.com/ – viagra cialis or levitra cialis without a script

    May 26, 2021 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Near Me


    May 26, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rv parts los angeles


    May 26, 2021 at 13:39 | 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.