KIller Flashlight Requires Goggles And Protective Clothing

Reading the title of this post, you may think, “well, evidently this is some kind of special industrial flashlight. Or maybe an experimental nuclear flashlight. No one would be stupid enough to put a warning like that on a regular consumer flashlight.” You should know better.

Mike ordered this tiny light, which looks smaller than the average adult’s finger, and he writes:

I ordered a small LED flashlight – powered by a single AA battery. Imagine my surprise when I received it and saw the product warning on the package. Apparently it was coated with lead from Chinese paint. Fortunately, I am not planning on any children. And they didn’t even enclose any operating instructions.

Mmm, lead. Here’s the text from the package, by the way:

Always wear ANSI approved safety goggles when using this product. Before using this product, the user should read the operating instructions to understand everything about this product. Normal everyday use of this product is likely to expose the user to dust and microscopic particles containing lead and other chemicals known in the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Always wear the appropriate clothing and safety equipment when operating this product. Wash hand [sic] thoroughly after the use and handling of this product.

How about I do you one better and I just don’t buy the killer flashlight?


Edit Your Comment

  1. GuJiaXian says:

    I can see it already: “Crap, the power’s out. Now, where did I put those ANSI-approved safety goggles? I need them before I can turn on my flashlight, which is slowly poisoning me while I simply hold it.”

  2. The Cheat says:

    A 1 watt LED is pretty friggin bright, just don’t point it at your eyeballs.

    • Skaperen says:

      @The Cheat: It will appear to be very bright at a spot because the LED light emitting surface is so small. That means the photon density in the same radial path is quite high compared to regular lights. Consider a 100 watt equivalent compact fluorescent light which will put out more light than 100 of those 1 watt LEDs. The light is being emitted from a larger surface area on the CFL.

      The reason the LED looks intense, and the reason it can harm, is because a small spot source will focus onto a small spot on your retina and potentially burn it. The LED’s 1 watt isn’t as bad as a laser because it is spreading out the light on several people at the same time, unlike a laser which would focus all its power on one eyeball (why a 5 milliwatt laser can be more dangerous than a 1 watt LED).

  3. HiPwr says:

    I’ve been gnawing on flashlights for years now. I never considered that the delicious bits of paint that chip off could have lead in it.

  4. Tim says:

    Wait, are all LED flashlights this dangerous? Or is it just this one?

    • Sean Masters says:

      @TCama: I would imagine that, like every other product out there…

    • HiPwr says:

      @TCama: All LEaD flashlights are dangerous.

    • dosdelon says:

      @TCama: If it’s made in China, which probably 95% of them are, then there’s probably a good chance that it has something in it that’s harmful to you. Don’t worry though, at least you won’t have to worry about buying birth control anymore.

    • U-235 says:

      @TCama: Compared to normal bulb flashlights they are very bright. I have a headlamp with LEDs and a traditional blub and I never use the traditional one because its so much more dull. And from experience, it hurts a lot more to get one shined in your eyes.

    • CapitalC says:

      @TCama: EVERYTHING is this dangerous, including, but not limited to:

      – frickin’ lasers
      – waffles
      – kittens
      – Aurora Borealis
      – indecision
      – gangsta rap

  5. Anonymous says:

    folks, obviously, this is no more or less dangerous then any other flashlight. What’s happening here is a company that’s slapping this boilerplate warning label on products that don’t really need it because, well, a superflous warning just gets you mocked on Consumerist, whereas a missing warning when you DO need it…

    • nakedscience says:

      @GinevraCypselus: I think people got that. Sense of humor, you need one.

      Also, it’s still dumb as hell, considering:

      “And they didn’t even enclose any operating instructions.”

      But, wait!

      “the user should read the operating instructions to understand everything about this product.”

      I bet they wrote the operating instructions in invisible ink.

      • Tedicles says:


        This can be the cause of the maker, importer, distributor, and/or the retailer. I do this all the time, and often the customer (the retailer in my case) asks for certain text and verbage to make sure there is nothing they have not indemnified themselves against.

        It should be noted that I have had to put instructions on a PEN before!! Seriously, the customer demanded it, and of course the customer is always right…so we had to add instructions stating “Write with pen to start.” since apparently some people thought the pen was broken when they first received it and did not write for the first 1/2 inch or so….UURRGGHHH!!

    • Xanaxian says:

      @GinevraCypselus: … never gets read or taken seriously.

    • U-235 says:

      @GinevraCypselus: They are way more bright than traditional bulb flashlights, and the warning is most likely there because continued exposure will cause retnal damage.

    • stre says:

      @GinevraCypselus: i’m not really sure that’s the case here. the flashlight is covered in lead paint, which has been banned in america for decades for a reason. so there is a danger here, albeing minscule.

  6. Skankingmike says:

    Those are just crazy California laws.

  7. Ssscorpion says:

    known in the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm.

    California knows something that the other 49 states don’t know? What are the odds of that?

  8. I Love New Jersey says:

    Always by your flashlights from Mag Lite. They are made in America.

    • I_have_something_to_say says:

      @I Love New Jersey:

      I love me some Mag Lites :)

    • HiPwr says:

      @I Love New Jersey: SureFire ([]) makes a damn fine American flashlight, too.

    • HiPwr says:

      @I Love New Jersey: Streamlight ([]) too. Both Streamlight and SureFire are more pricey than Mag Lite, but are noticeably superior.

    • Anonymous says:

      @I Love New Jersey: Mag-Lite is the Monster Cable of the flashlight industry. Read the company history on their web site some time. Most of their major accomplishments happened in the courtroom, not the research laboratory.

      • cameronl says:

        @SaumyaNumskis: “Monster Cable of the Flashlight Industry?” Hardly. They’re too affordable. A well made American LED flashlight (2D cell model)for about $25 is a pretty good price. I’ve had my (non-LED) Mag for years with no problems. Added the LED upgrade and it still performs great.

        There are other brands out there that cost nearly $100. For what? Now THAT’s a Monster Flashlight.

    • SafetyMachete_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @I Love New Jersey: And their LED models SUCK. LED’s need a heatsink, but the reflector design that houses the bulb can’t conduct heat very well, so the performance suffers. If they could re-design the head assembly to act as a total heatsink, they would be golden.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @I Love New Jersey:

      Every time I’ve bought a MagLite, the bulb goes out after a week and I can’t get it to work. I quit buying them.

    • NotYou007 says:

      @I Love New Jersey:

      So is my Surefire which is the only flashlight I will own. MAG-LITE’s are cheap and cannot match the quality, durability and light output of a Surefire. I can temporarily blind you, even in the day with my 8NX Commander and it fits in the palm of my hand.


      It kicks the crap out of any MAG-LITE made. A Surefire is not cheap but I trust mine with my life when it comes to reliability.

    • Justifan says:

      @I Love New Jersey:
      no, maglites are sadly junk. they are slow to adopt new tech, then charge way too much for inferior implimentation. they are coasting on their name. first they took forever to impliment leds in their flashlights, then by the time they did it, they used basically old led tech instead of the cutting edge. furthermore on their larger c/d lights they failed to heatsink the led adequately so it is throttled by heat. all the leds have fallen behind their competitors, from no name, to even coleman which is using cree leds. not to mention how inconvenient their aa models lack of a simple tail switch is. they charge as much as their competitors for an inferior light. an aa maglight is around 23-25 dollars, and isn’t even rugged or toughly built. a coleman cree based aa light is the same cost, and is a better more rugged/wont’ roll off surfaces design and comes with a freakin tail cap switch.

      go to if you want to know more aobut led lights. maglite makes me shows how you can spam out inferior products coasting on name alone. i guess its esp easy with flashlights since for decades there was almost no progress, so consumers expect little.

  9. Brian James Schend says:

    I suspect that they point the warning text from some other product they make (like a saw or something) on to the flashlight package. Or maybe they use the same warning for all their products and some legitimately require safety glasses.

  10. Brian James Schend says:

    As far as the cancer warning, that’s a law peculiar to California. This warning appears on everything you don’t eat in the state of California. If the flashlight has mercury in the light bulb, it triggers the warning requirement.

    Of course, the signs are common enough to be completely ignored by everybody.

  11. 8TrackMind says:

    This must be a California thing, because awhile back I bought a mug from a company that included a little sheet of paper that informed me that materials used in the making of said mug would kill me in various awful ways. I imagine that it was probably the glazing on the outside of the mug that was the problem, and not the coating on the inside where the beverages go. I wrote back to the company requesting that they send me a less-lethal mug, but never heard back from them. You’ll all be immensely relieved to know that I have been using the mug for years with no pesky side effects, such as death.

    • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

      @8TrackMind: Death from lead comes slowly. Other symptoms would probably be more noticeable first.

    • twerp says:

      @8TrackMind: @8TrackMind:

      yes, it’s a California thing. Prop 65. Practically everything carries this warning even if it’s not applicable to the item because manufacturers are afraid of NOT putting the warning on.

  12. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Last year I bought a LED flashlight from Amazon. When I opened the clamshell packaging it had a VERY strong chemical odor. When we held the flashlight it irritated our hands. There was something very wrong with that thing. I sent it back and shortly afterward I noticed they were no longer selling it.

  13. bishophicks says:

    “The goggles! They do nothing!”

  14. mindshadow says:

    @HiPwr: Right, but do they make a 3 foot long model? That’s the important thing.

    • Sys Admn says:

      @mindshadow: Nope, and neither does MagLite. They’ve pretty much phased out their 4 and 5 D cell clubs, and the 6 has been gone a few years. The 7? Good luck finding one.

      If you do want a MagClub that’s usable as a flashlight, visit Malkoff Devices – []

  15. SafetyMachete_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I will take a wild guess and bet that this is from Harbor Freight. Everything they sell has this standard warning on it. I’m guessing the terminals on the battery leads have brass, which contains lead. I bought a shoe horn from Harbor Freight that had this exact same warning on it about the ANSI goggles. I bet even their goggle have this warning on them.

  16. TadizzleFizzle says:

    I ordered an LED flashlight, not a LEAD one!

  17. S-the-K says:

    That’s because in the nanny state that is the People’s Democratic Republic of California, they have to include that warning because if you use the flashlight to go poking around dark, dirty, industrial areas, there is a possibility you may encounter hazardous materials.

    That warning is to protect them from lawsuits from the PDRC and the public suing them because they encountered hazardous substances while using the flashlight. If they include the warning with the flashlight, they are absolved of responsibility if you use the product correctly but in the wrong place.

  18. Real Cheese Flavor says:

    @mindshadow: No, but they make tiny little flashlights that are so bright I’m pretty sure they can be seen from the moon.

  19. SacraBos says:

    This flashlight probably does contain lead. The wires connecting the LED to the switch and battery terminals have probably been soldered. Which is probably the source of lead. OMG, let’s put a label on it so Californians don’t gnaw at the innards of the flashlight.

    I’m sure about any consumer electronics or electrical product would contain a similar wording in CA.

    • Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

      Ding! Ding! Ding!
      We have a winner! Good answer. And don’t forget the batteries! They will kill you too!

  20. mbz32190 says:

    Harbor Freight seems to slap this same generic warning on all the items they sell…even if they obviously are not dangerous items.

  21. maruawe42 says:

    led’s are a concentrated light source A 1 watt light would be very bright (handheld lasers are restricted to 5w in US)being a concentrated light source their may be a possibility of eye damage if pointed towards the eyes?
    As for the lead we are dealing with China, so anything is possible.

    • shepd says:


      5 milliWatts for lasers, I hope. :)

      A 5 watt laser would not only cause blindness, but would probably burn right through your eye. Probably even all the way through to the other side of your skull as well if you gave it time…

      I doubt the LED is going to offer a pinpoint light source like a laser since that would make it useless as a flashlight. Being able to focus the light to a pinpoint is really what makes lasers dangerous.

      You can buy a 200 mW laser from dealextreme that will light matches on fire and pop balloons (and cause instant blindness, of course). It only works well for that because it has a focusing ring that lets you collimate the laser properly. If you don’t focus it, it won’t do much of anything (Well, maybe unwanted eye surgery will still happen–I’m a bit too scared of my own ineptness to buy one and find out).

    • EBBlond says:

      @maruawe42: Regardless of the brightness of the light, how is wearing a pair of safety goggles going to protect you from it? They’re clear lenses to keep sharp stuff out of your eyes; not dark sunglasses.

  22. MountainCop says:

    “Warning – Do not stare into Lasers or LED flashlights with remaining eye.”

  23. faust1200 says:

    It’s about proposition 65. []

  24. Bigsky99 says:

    Harbor Freight has warnings on everything!!!! Of course they do this so when your whatever breaks and melts off half your face…..they said wear ANSI stuff can’t sue ’em.

    And not for all the money in the world would I put myself under jack/safety stands from Harbor Freight. I don’t care how cheap I am, or how heavy duty 10 ton blah blah they are. I’ve noticed that section is always stocked, and the boxes have mucho dust on them. I hope other people agree with me.

    I wouldn’t even give them to my enemies.

  25. JGBrock says:

    I actually own this particular flashlight. Or at least the flashlight that this one appears to be a copy of (tooluxe?).

    It is a Fenix and it is really really really bright. Beats the living sh*t out of a similiarly sized maglight. But, then again, that is not that hard. Maglights are crap.

    • cerbie says:

      @JGBrock: chances are this one isn’t as bright, has worse tint, a worse beam, and worse or not anodizing. The first place I found selling this torch had it for $7. It’s probably just like the ones from DX for that cost.

    • You Cannot Untoast says:


      Yeah, but my Maglite can be used to beat the snot out of someone, immediately.

      You have to wait for your enemies to get cancer.

      Maglite wins this round.

      • NotYou007 says:

        @You Cannot Untoast:

        And my Surefire which can be concealed in my hand with the help of my arm can blind the snot out of you when I see you coming with your very obvious large and junk thing named MAG-LITE you are so proud of. You have to draw back to swing and I can blind you even in the daylight from 10 feet away so you will never have a chance to take a swing at me with your junk of a flashlight.

        I can also beat you about the head with my Surefire as the material it is made from is stronger than steel and being the butt end of the flashlight is not very large I can poke you in the eye while you are attempting to see anything because I just temporally blinded you with my Surefire.

        Surefire wins.

  26. Hohoemi says:

    “…do not taunt Killer Flashlight”

  27. TIMCHUCK says:

    I can use this to inspect the damage done by my Chinese drywall.

  28. jayphat says:

    Normal everyday use of this product is likey to expose the user to dust and microscopic particles containing lead and other chemicals known in the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm.

    Working retail, I have seen this on every range and manor of products. If there is even a possibility that during the manufacturing process it came in contact with lead, that label goes on it.

    Its all part of Californias STRICT business laws. Ya know, the ones that promote so much investment in California that they aren’t being affected by the recession at all.

  29. vastrightwing says:

    Perhaps they use GaS LEDs and the warning is for the Galium Arsenide they use in the manufacturing of the LED.

  30. Radoman says:

    Brinkman makes a nice 1 Watt LED light with a rubber end cap. Easier on the teeth for those who tend to use it this way, and hopefully you’ll eat less paint.

    As I say, it’s a one watt, which is pretty bright. Even though it uses only a single AA battery, they claim it puts out 45 lumens.

    Like $15 bucks or so at a Mega-Lo Mart.

    I’m sorry. Did you want to talk about flashlights?

  31. Trai_Dep says:

    Some darned idiot in Assembly put a flashlight in the Light Saber packaging.

  32. YarrrSquiddy says:

    “And they didn’t even enclose any operating instructions.”

    Do you really NEED operating instructions for a flashlight? Yeah, companies include that, mostly as a formality, I guess… Why even mention that Super China Lead Light Co left them out? Anywho… safety goggles ftw.

  33. Dansc29625 says:

    It is probably coated in the same oil that everything in harbor fright is coated in.

  34. Snullbug says:

    This is for the same idiots that need the “do not eat” on the package of desiccants enclosed in electronics packaging. After all, some folks find strange recreational uses for things shaped like flashlights.

  35. elislider says:

    ive seen this same text on a lot of things “…contains materials know to the state of California to cause cancer etc” and the worst part is it was on Disney products. because if anyone knows how to properly handle items with lead paint, its KIDS

  36. macbeach says:

    But the real question is: Was the flashlight produced in a factory that was ever used in the processing or storage of products that contain peanuts?

  37. ilikev8 says:

    At work I was given a tin of mints as a product promotion a few months back. The tin itself had a warning stating the ink used on the tin was known to the state of CA to cause cancer. I certainly wasn’t about to put those mints in my mouth.

    • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

      @ilikev8: During all the mad cow problems that were happening in England, I wondered why Altoids – made with delicious and wholesome cow gelatin – were still being sold.

  38. DoktorH says:

    when i saw the Killer Flashlight headline, I thought it was going to be the flashlight from Wickedlasers that starts fires and cooks eggs. []

  39. gman863 says:

    It’s amazing how many items California requires the cancer warning posted on.

    Fry’s is based in CA; they require California cancer warning posters to be posted nationwide in all stores near items that do not have the warning on the label. Two notable examples: Soldering materials (lead) and the thermal cash register receipt paper(chemicals). FYI, all thermal receipt paper – not just Fry’s – contains the same chemicals.

  40. e.varden says:

    Black flashlights are just fecking stoopid. You’re in the dark, and you need to get your flashlight. What part of “in the dark” do these manufacturers not understand?


  41. Sian says:

    @I Love New Jersey: Maglights are really pretty lame, given competition from other american companies like SureFire (I own six) and Streamlight.