General Question


What's the significance of stores posting signs warning the public of the risk of cancer-causing products and chemicals in their vicinity?

Asked by MRSHINYSHOES (13951points) December 22nd, 2011

When I was in California last month, I walked into stores that had signs posted warning the public that they were in an area “where there are known cancer-causing agents.” I was alarmed to see these signs posted in several shops, and wondered if there was any real harm to people visiting the stores on a daily basis, or to the employees who worked there. Is it a real danger? If not, why do they have signs like that warning people who go there?

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9 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I believe it has to do with Proposition 65, SAFE DRINKING WATER AND TOXIC ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 1986

You often see labeling that is required by the act on products that reads something like:

WARNING: This product contains chemicals, including lead, known to the State of California to cause [cancer, and] birth defects or other reproductive harm.

My mom and I used to joke about it all the time. Well, what does California know that my state doesn’t know? What’s my state not telling us? :-)


@lillycoyote Yes! That’s what the sign reads. I also see the sign on labels on various products. For example, an aquarium product we use has that warning too. What I want to know is what’s the “real” danger to the people who frequent the area or use the product? With the aquarium liquid we use (a fish remedy), for example, is the risk only significant if one accidentally drinks it (like a small child) or gets it on his person on a regular basis? Or is simple exposure to the liquid enough to cause cancer? Or what about going to the store that has these agents around?

lillycoyote's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Well, it’s “real” in the sense that the State of California isn’t making this stuff up out of thin air. It’s kind of a “heads up.” If you read the link about labeling requirement it gives you more information. The labels are just a warning, they can’t provide the science behind it, they won’t even tell you what the hell is in there that is the problem, you kind of have to do some research. And the link lists some steps you can take. If it’s a product you use all the time, or something you can breath in or gets on your skin, and particularly if your children are exposed, it might be worth it to look into whatever product it is and find out what the risks are. If it’s something you just use occasionally it’s probably not worth worrying about. The labeling link is pretty informative, particularly the “what the labels don’t say” section, that outlines what you need to do if you want to know more.

lillycoyote's avatar

Oops. Removed by me because I posted my answer twice.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s silly. California’s welfare state mentality (and the political correctness legislators) caused these signs to be placed everywhere in the state, because they simply don’t trust the average person on the street to be remotely intelligent.

Products and services in California are no more and no less dangerous (if at all) than any other state in the USA. California chooses to alert you.

The truly ineffective thing about these signs is that there are so many of them, everywhere, that they are universally ignored. There is no meaning to them when you see them everywhere from a gas station (where there is an arguable case) to a donut shop (where the chances of toxic materials is considerably lower).

Dumb meaningless laws create dumb people.

Judi's avatar

We even have to put them up in our parking lots at the apartments. There are toxins in the car exhaust, the chlorine in the pool might be considered a toxin, the glue in the carpets.
The problem is that the law is so vague that everyone has to put up the signs for risk of being sued. It makes the law pointless because you can’t tell the difference between a real heightened risk and car exhausts.

john65pennington's avatar

And, lets not forget the meth labs all over the country.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t pay any attention to the slow fear drip we are fed every day, be it from the media, the government or hyped up warnings.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but, I do believe there is, most definitely, a method to the madness of controlling through fear. Bah humbug!

You know, there are gazillions of elderly people that grew up in eras eating DDT soaked veggies and smoking, and every other damn thing under the sun, and they are still frisking about undead, in the moment. lol

I was cracking up the other night watching a dvd of TV commercials from the 60’s & 70’s…did you know that doctors number #1 choice of smoking was Camel cigarettes?

Another advertisement was for some sort of abestos floor tile…the housewife making her new and beautiful floor with blah, blah, blah, ABESTOS floor tile.

Here we all are, adapt or die.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It mostly has to do with how the law was written in California. They have to put the warning label on certain items if there is a measurable amount used in its manufacture. When the law came out it wasn’t much of a problem because the standard measure was parts per million. Now they have equipment capable of measuring parts per billion.

Most other states that have similar laws put in minimum quantities before packaging had to be changed. Since most stuff is sold nationally, the packaging usually conveys the most stringint standard, which is usually California’s standard.

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