"known to the state of California to cause cancer"

I was plugging in this lamp I have, and I noticed this little tag on the cord that says something along the lines of “Warning, this cord contains some materials and/or chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and other serious health defects”. Well, like the paranoid person I am, I washed my hands about a million times…
My questions are:

  1. What exactly does this all mean? I’m a little foggy on the vague-ness of the whole warning.
  2. Why won’t they tell me what chemicals exactly are hazardous?
  3. What’s with the “California” thing? Do they mean scientists who live/study in CA found this out?
    Thanks in advance.


A listing of all the chemicals follows.

Does this mean anything for a lamp? Unless you start chewing on it, probably not a whole lot. Even then, probably not much either.

It’s labeling required by Proposition 65 passed in California.


At the link there is actually a Chemical List. I presume it’s just easier to slap this random disclaimer on things (and believe me, there’s chemicals in everything, so this warning is EVERYWHERE) than to actually tell you what specifically makes the cut. So you usually just see the warning but with no specifics.

For what it’s worth, I’ve had to sign a disclaimer at every place I’ve worked that says there are such chemicals present. And I think I signed one when I bought my condo, too.

Dang. Typed too slowly.

Haha thanks guys. I really am way too paranoid.

You know, this labeling thing is getting ridiculous. Awhile back, I bought my GF a computer mouse. When she opened the package, it had one of those stupid warnings, and I had to plead with her that it wasn’t going to kill her to touch it, that it was just about what was inside the mouse. It’s like those mattress tags…

Huh. That would explain the signs on all the doors in the Holiday Inn we stayed at last spring.

You’re kidding…

Yep, it seems that just about everything could be slapped with one of those labels since their limits are set so low. Every NMR standard we have (for calibrating and setting shims and the like), for instance, has one of those warnings because they all contain CDCL3 or C6D6 or the like. And look at that list: alcoholic beverages, aspirin, inhalable fibers and particles of all kinds, and mustard gas. I’m not too worried about getting various mustards in my commercial products. Not that the list doesn’t have value, but it seems like overkill the way it’s used.

Those signs are everywhere, as scout mentioned, which pretty much means they are pretty much useless.

Not kidding. Cigarette smoke has to be listed, as well as alcohol from the bar, so the smoking rooms have been labeled. Most hotels and restaurants just put Prop 65 warnings at the “primary” public entrances, which means they get lost in the clutter of the credit card logos, Better Business Bureau signs and whatnot that are near the front door.

I wonder if the ink on the signs is hazardous - that could lead to a recursive end-of-the-universe scenario! :smiley:

They really should just add a disclaimer to the ‘Welcome to California’ signs at the borders. This state contains chemicals known to cause cancer.

I doubt anyone but tourists and newcomers even notices the signs anymore.

Previous on same topic … http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=391818

I wouldn’t worry about it. Those chemicals only cause cancer in California. I’m safely nested in Ohio…that’s along way from that carcinogenic western state.

I’m glad none of these substances or chemicals are known to the state of Arizona to cause cancer. It’s much safer here!