Fun With Warning Labels: Beware The Mickey Mouse Cancer Lamp

Reader Mike directs our attention to the above lamp. The warning label reads:

WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Perhaps this is why the lamp is on clearance?

Why does this seem like the beginning of a not-so-good horror movie? Oh my gosh, it’s just like when the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii and they found that tiki thing and it gave them bad luck…

What do you think of warning labels like this? Would you risk purchasing the cancer lamp?

Mikey Tiki [Disney Outlet]


Edit Your Comment

  1. SkokieGuy says:

    The least California could do is tell the rest of us.

    California hates our freedom.

  2. SVreader says:

    I’ve seen those warning labels on cheaply made touristy knick-knacks, and my thought is always, “It’s not something I actually need, so why buy it?” Even if cancer would only occur, if I, say, ate it, I’d rather avoid those products.

  3. B says:

    Cancer, Smancer. I’m pretty sure that lamp is cursed.

  4. friendlynerd says:

    That warning is on a lot of stuff these days. Pretty much any computer cable, in fact. What they don’t tell you is that in order to come in contact with the harmful stuff, you’d have to strip the insulation jacket off, rub your hands all over the exposed contents, and lick your fingers.

  5. christoj879 says:

    There’s probably lead in the cord. If all of our parents are now getting cancer from all of the things their parents did, the least we can do is put our kids through the same thing :-)

  6. Brain.wav says:

    I think I’d avoid that lamp just based on the Nightmare Fuel its secreting…

  7. flowergirl says:

    everything in california has that warning on it. buildings, cigarettes, toys, nail polish, you name it.

  8. zentex says:

    I live in Georgia, so that lamp wont cause cancer here.

  9. smallestmills says:

    I used to work for a CA based corp. where all our imports came through CA. Almost everything contained that label except for bath and food products. I think it comes down to the fact that everything may cause cancer.

  10. redqueenmeg says:

    A couple of parents in my kid’s soccer league have camp chairs they bring to games that have that warning on them.

    They bought the chairs at Wal-Mart.

    Not saying there’s any connection…

  11. moorie678 says:

    Warning: posting here might cause cancer and/or birth defects

  12. IphtashuFitz says:

    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

  13. quirkyrachel says:

    Nah, that’s just California. If they don’t pass some constricting law at least once a month they start getting antsy. But seriously, we don’t know for sure what causes cancer, and California is only just a tad less nuts than the EU, so they put that warning on a host of items, including my exercise ball. (OMG my exercise ball is going to cause me cancer!!!! *runs around in circles*)

  14. hoot550 says:

    I used to live in California, and those labels are everywhere. It’s some kind of state law that known cancer causing substances have to be labeled. There used to be a sign in the coffee area of our office that said the “area” contained a substance known to cause cancer.

  15. GenXCub says:

    Apparently it’s from the cord, lots of cord insulation have that warning.

  16. HalOfBorg says:

    I’ve seen those warnings for years on just about everything – like extension cords and such.

    WARNING – don’t suck on that wire!

  17. EyeHeartPie says:

    I think sucking on it would be ok. Now, chewing on it till you got to the wires, then continuing to chew it…not so much.

  18. Aesteval says:

    According to the State of California, electrical tape contains
    ingredients that can cause cancer. It looks like California just has
    some really solid laws relating to potential sources of harm. But just
    because something can cause cancer doesn’t necessarily mean it will
    (ok, can live without the lamp, but life without electrical tape? yeah

  19. JiminyChristmas says:

    Why does Mickey look like he’s presiding over a human sacrifice? Now that’s creepy.

  20. audemars says:

    We got mugs at my job that came with this sticker on it saying something along the same lines, the state of california says this mug can cause cancer or whatever…

    Then they send us a letter saying to “disregard it.” LOL.

    Oh okay, disregard the mug that’s going to give you cancer!

  21. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Cancer, Smancer. I’m pretty sure that lamp is cursed.

    But it comes with a free Frogurt.

  22. Underpants Gnome says:

    I’m pretty sure the “reproductive harm” comes from the certainty of never getting laid when your significant other sees that creepy thing on your nightstand stealing your souls with its devil eyes.

  23. The Porkchop Express says:

    You can (maybe could now) also buy bags of sand (yeah sand) from pottery barn back in 02 or so that had the same warning.

    Mind you I saw these in…..Florida. We have sand here that doesn’t cause cancer. And that sand wasn’t cheap.

    Maybe their materials have been polluted by smug.

  24. Underpants Gnome says:

    @JiminyChristmas: @B:
    I should really read all the other comments before posting.

    Bad gnome.

  25. I love how California is basically its own country now.

  26. Beelzebub says:

    So very much a non-issue…California requires that label on ANYTHING that contains any hazardous materials, regardless of amount. Go take a look at the china dishware department of any department store out here, and you’ll be terrified until you realize it’s everywhere.

    And getting a CA shipment sent to the wrong place is rather easy.

    So this is actually a GOOD thing for us consumers.

  27. Beelzebub says:

    @InfiniTrent: We’re not our own country — it’s just that the rest of the US decided to be a 3rd World country. (Well, OK, maybe not Oregon).

  28. donnie5 says:

    @SkokieGuy: LOL…its funny because its true.

  29. kc2idf says:

    It’s only good for the consumers if the risk isn’t blown out of proportion. There is most likely a small quantity of lead in an enclosed portion of the lamp, where some electrical connection was soldered. If that lead is exposed, then you have a bigger problem than lead poisoning (specifically, an electrocution hazard).

    It has been a long-standing practice to use a lead/tin alloy for soldering of electronics (and other things). The newer ROHS standards eschew the practice, but at the risk of the tin forming “fingers” over time, shortening the life of the product.

  30. Skiffer says:

    Proposition 65

    Although humorous, it’s not at all uncommon – practically everything has to carry that label if it’s to be sold in California, which defeats the purpose because you just become desensitized to it.


    @Lo-Pan: The warning on the sand is most likely related to inhalation of small particles – which can lead to cancer similar to asbestos. Note, the sand without the warning label has the same issue, just that it can’t be sold in california without the label.

  31. theblackdog says:

    I think that creepy smile is what causes cancer.

  32. EyeHeartPie says:

    The Frogurt is also cursed.

  33. mike says:

    It only causes cancer in California. If you don’t live there, you won’t get cancer.

  34. chrisjames says:

    @Skiffer: Yeah, prop 65. Consumerist is 22 years too late to post this one. Aspirin is on the list with a special disclaimer.

    It’s a good idea, since it’s about public information, not fear-mongering. Some people are even told by doctors that some things they take are simply not harmful, but anything is harmful in sufficient doses. That’s why we have to listen to the 30 second spiel at the end of every pill ad, though why you’d stay for the first minute and a half is the reason this isn’t always effective.

  35. AD8BC says:

    @Skiffer: Agreed. Even though I don’t live in California, when I visit I am desensitized. In fact I laugh at them now.

    Why just last night I fixed some lead flashing on my roof. It was 100% pure lead (or pretty close anyway). Probably thousands of times more dangerous than the lead content in a piece of lamp cord.

    I’ve worked with pure mercury in the past. I’ve stripped lead paint. I have probably breathed asbestos. I used lead-based solder last week. Two months ago I breathed the air in Los Angeles. Two weeks ago I ate raw sushi and oysters. Six months ago I enjoyed steak tartare.

    According to California I should now either be dead or have tumors the size of a small Toyota.

  36. Hanke says:

    It’s called Proposition 65. ANTHING that the State of California THINKS could cause cancer, must be labeled as possibly causing cancer.


  37. marsneedsrabbits says:


    But you get your choice of toppings.

  38. AD8BC says:

    @chrisjames: RE the pill ads, I miss the days where the TV or radio ad would refer you to a magazine ad where you could read all of the side effects…

    And a question about side effects… have you actually listened to the lists of potential side effects? I remember at least one pill listing cold or flu as a side effect. For that to be so, wouldn’t the pill actually have to have an active cold or flu virus in it?

  39. Hanke says:

    In the time it takes to verify I’m going to post the truth, I get beat to it…

  40. ringo00 says:

    Like others here have said, it is a state law here in California. It is known as Proposition 65 and the cancer warnings are literally everywhere. I moved here from Chicago and I have to say, those warnings were a bit disconcerting at first. Quite literally every restaurant, grocery store, club, retail outlet, office building, whorehouse, and opium den you might wander into has a warning about some mystery substance that may cause cancer. The warnings are always vague usually referring to “a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer”. I don’t know what this substance is, but apparently it is absolutely everywhere. Either that, or California is stupid.

  41. EyeHeartPie says:

    The toppings contain potassium benzoate.

  42. ringo00 says:

    @Hanke: That’s what I get for taking to long to write my post.

  43. Orv says:

    I realized this had reached the point of absurdity when I saw a sign at the entrance to a hotel lobby warning it contained materials that were known to cause cancer by the State of California.

    These labels are so prevalent that they’re useless; if everything is labeled, you can’t derive any useful information from the presence of the label.

  44. IphtashuFitz says:

    @Hanke: I wonder how they attach such a warning to the LA smog…

  45. marsneedsrabbits says:


    Can I go now?

  46. @Beelzebub: Yeah, I forgot how enlightened you guys are out there :)

  47. Skiffer says:

    @Lo-Pan: @Skiffer:

    Found it – longest word in the english language: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

    A lung disease caused by inhaling dust particles

  48. chrisjames says:

    @AD8BC: Yeah, one listed “increased urge to gamble” as a side-effect. I considered taking the pill just to see if that was true.

  49. EyeHeartPie says:

    :) Loved that episode.

  50. biblio26 says:

    @flowergirl: I was going to say the same thing. I moved to San Francisco from New York about a year ago and those signs are everywhere in CA. CA is a very strange place.

  51. Orv says:

    Something to keep in mind is that the U.S. has two laboratories for dubious legislative ideas. California serves this purpose for the left, and Texas serves it for the right.

  52. Landru says:

    It’s easy to make fun of, but I do take it into account, especially with stuff that ends up around kids.

  53. DrGirlfriend says:

    Is that the Brady Bunch evil tiki next to Mickey? Must be, because that Mickey looks insane.

  54. mijo_sq says:

    ahh.. the wonder prop 65.

    I used to work for a company that was sued because of prop 65. It seems that any concerned “citizen” can sue a business, even if they work for the law firm that sues the company…funny.
    “Prop 65 lawsuits are from local lawyers.”

    BTW – it also seems that you can slap a prop 65 sticker on something with an unacceptable amount of lead, and still sell it to consumers… lead dinners plate anyone??

  55. Red_Eye says:

    In other news, due to prop 65, the Good Year blimp has a new permanent job. Displaying the cancer warning in the sky for the Sun.

    Film at 11 after our retinas heal.

  56. SacraBos says:

    @flowergirl: Welcome to California. Warning: This State contains substances known to cause cancer, birth defects, and sudden urge to have plastic surgery.

  57. Conrad says:

    The same label was on a hotel I stayed at in San Fransisco.

  58. BrockBrockman says:

    That warning label means pretty much NOTHING. Thanks, Prop 65.

  59. mijo_sq says:

    They probably had to list it only because their wine bottles have some decorative lead paint.

  60. metaled says:

    That’s Calif.! You can’t go anywhee here without seeing that message.
    Anything that has been painted has to carry that warning. Before you go into a hobby store, auto parts or a hardware store you will see that warning. (this store carries items which are known to the state of California to cause cancer). Even if the packaging has any trace chemicals, it is required to carry that message. Chemicals that would take years of industrial exposure to cause any ill effect carry that message.
    It’s posted so much, that it is practically goes unnoticed now. If the item was really dangerous, no one would have a clue because of the notice overexposure!
    Why would this even be posted here? Because it’s Disney?

  61. Hitchcock says:

    Yup, good ol’ Prop 65. If your product contains any chemical that has been shown to cause cancer, it must have the label. It doesn’t matter how little of the chemical is in the product, or how much of the chemical has to be consumed for it to increase cancer risk.

    There was actually a warning label at our old apartment complex warning the smoke from car exhaust and from people cooking in their kitchens could cause cancer.

  62. MDT says:

    While I am not certain, the lead in question may be in the electrical cord.

    Lead is required by UL for some electrical cording for both fire prevention and pliability of the plastic used in the cord. Every set of Christmas lights has the same issue – holiday cheer!

    Big retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have added the California Prop 65 warning to their stuff as part of the standard packaging, so you’ll be seeing more of this.

  63. ivanthemute says:


  64. EyeHeartPie says:

    I’m wondering…are there random signs in California warning that the air you are breathing has been shown to cause cancer? Especially in the big cities?

  65. jimconsumer says:

    EVERYTHING is “known to the state of California to cause cancer.” That label means nothing.

  66. termitehead says:

    @EyeHeartPie: Pretty much… I’ve seen signs on buildings in San Francisco saying that chemicals inside are known to cause cancer. And this was at a hotel :P

  67. Garbanzo says:

    @ringo00: If a single person inside a building has a single cigarette in their purse, that building contains a substance known to cause cancer.

    Alcohol, present in nearly all hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, and apartment buildings, is known to cause birth defects.

    So, yeah, cancer-causing and birth-defect-causing substances ARE everywhere.

  68. MyPetFly says:

    We see signs and notices like that all the time here in California. Liability law…

  69. whydidnt says:

    When good signs go bad.

    I’ve been in NICE hotels in California that have these signs on the walls. I’m all for proper labeling, but when you go so far as to label almost everything it has the opposite of your intended effect.

    I doubt many people take any of these signs seriously since they are on everything. They are probably do more harm than good, since they are ignored, and there are actually a few items that really should have the sign.

  70. It had been a loooong time since anyone in our family bought a vacuum cleaner, so when we brought a new one home a couple years ago we were surprised to see a similar label warning against the lead in the power cord. On the bright side, at least they’re telling you beforehand!

  71. samspot says:

    My Hoover vacuum cleaner has the same warning.

  72. brettt says:

    the lamp looks devious. he looks like he enjoys giving you cancer.

  73. Jeneni says:

    disney + tiki lamp (carry the mouse ears) = cancer/dead babies?

  74. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Skiffer: My god, who tells you when you have that? and how do they tell you?

    and aren’t there small particals everywhere? like dust.

    We’re all screwed eh?