Is my apartment going to kill me? (California's "Hazardous Chemicals" signs)

Well, I just moved down to California about a week ago, and so far I’m loving the apartment, except for one minor thing. Right outside my door is a sign that declares that “hazardous chemicals known to cause cancer” may be present. It then goes on to list several of these chemicals, and there potential reproductive & cancerous long-term effects.

How large of a risk am I taking? I have an awesome view of the ocean, and an apartment near void of neighbors, I’d hate to give it up; though not getting cancer is a pretty strong incentive. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hmmm, California, and near the ocean you say? I do need to move out of the ghetto…

I’d say you’re taking an enormous, life-threatening risk. Move out and I’ll take it on instead. It’s OK, don’t worry about me, I don’t have children or a family.

Your landlord will have to cut the rent in half of course, due to the life-threatening chemicals and all. :smiley:

Welcome to California. It’s a lovely state, with some odd rules about how to make new laws. We call them “propositions.” You’ve just met your friendly neighborhood Prop 65 sign. According to OEHHA (the agency charged with enforcing Prop 65), you will need to ask your landlord why there’s a Prop 65 warning outside your door.

I lived in SoCal when Prop 65 was passed & the signs were all new. The sign basically means that your apartment contains paint & carpet. The same type paint & carpet as your last apartment in whatever other state had.

Substantially everything plastic or petroleum-based is theoretically carcinogenic. And every man-made structure or vehicle (and many/most common household items) contain those sorts of components, at least in trace amounts.

The law behind the signs was an overly back-to-nature attempt at consciousness raising; to get Californians to recognize the horrors of modern life & return to their chemical-free natural fiber roots. It was expected to lead to a hue & cry to reduce carcinogens in the man-made environment.

Had the law been writen with sensible thresholds, so you could tell the difference between wading into a toxic sludge pile & walking into a Target store, the signs might have done some good.

Instead, the thresholds were set so close to zero that damn near everything qualifies as “carcinogenic.” So rather than doing good, the law simply spawned an industry in posting little signs at the door to every commercial building in the state. And once the signs are everywhere, they’re effectively nowhere; everybody just ignored/ignores them as meaningless.

Every house & car in the state ought to have one too, but the law exempted private residences & vehicles from needing to post signs, no matter how carcingenic their contents.

Whatever you do, don’t go outside.

The sun’s carcinogenic, too.

Let’s not forget to tell him to not breath any of that dangerous air out there, either.

We have gone completely overboard with those warnings - walk into most any bar or restaurant, and there’s a sign somewhere warning about the dangerous substances available for purchase. Yes, beer, wine and distilled spirits can be dangerous when consumed to excess, but do we really need signs at the door warning us?

The last time I bought a light fixture, that had a Prop 65 warning as well, and a half-sheet page of instructions on how to decontaminate yourself after installing the thing because somewhere inside the fixture, is a certain tiny quantity of lead-based solder. :rolleyes:

When I’m in a good mood, I laugh at those signs.

When I’m in a bad mood, I either ignore them or :rolleyes: at them.

I suppose this might make them somewhat useful for people who encounter me, in giving them a clue to my mood, but other than that they’re pretty useless.

The funniest ones are on products that are sold in CA and elsewhere, that say “California Customers: This product… yadda yadda” I guess they put the hazardous or carcinogenic materials in when they ship it over the state line, or something :smiley:

Thanks for all replies, and LSLGuy for the hilariously informative post.

I figured it was something minor being blown out of proportion, but it’s nice to get that verified.