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Eh? It’s a frigging pair of earphones!

So I ordered a pair of in-ear phones last Sunday, to make sure I could sleep decently at least once in a while. Since my last pair, which was Sennheiser brand, broken in less than an year (even though I did abuse them quite a bit with the various staying at the hospital), I decided to go with a brand suggested to me by a friend, Shure.

I couldn’t find any Shure hardware in the store near me, so I ordered them through the Apple Store, which works quite well especially when it comes to rapid delivery, indeed they arrived this afternoon. I opened the package, and started inspecting the box. It’s not the usual plastic blister, which is a nice change, especially for the pricetag of the thing, but when I felt around it to check labels (it’s something I do almost without thinking nowadays), I noticed something quite scary:

Warning label

No clue about which chemical it is, if it is dangerous to be exposed to it by ingesting it, drinking it, or just using the earphones, or any other specifics. I called the Apple Store just to confirm the thing has the RoHS certification and they assured me it has. But still.

Comments 9
  1. agreed, the regulations in california are way beyond just about anywhere else on the planet. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

  2. My roommate and I had an inside joke about the “cancer cable” back when I lived in Arizona.We had an optical mouse and the cable had a label stuck on it similar to the above, I seem to recall it saying:”This contains lead, a chemical known to cause cancer in California.”Something along those lines, some mixture of “lead, cancer, California”.

  3. I sure wouldn’t worry about it, and in fact I don’t worry about those labels. At least in the states it is widely known that California believes just about everything gives you cancer.

  4. I moved to California a few years ago and first saw this sign when I was looking for an apartment. It seems like about 1/2 the buildings in the state have the same warning. Ironically, the signs only serve to inure people to the whole concept of carcinogenic chemicals.

  5. Heh, from what you guys say, it seems like they really wanted to hide the truth at the end. Adding the warning on everything even when the chances are basically zero is just like not having the warning at all in the first place.At least I can use my earphones without having nightmares now 🙂 Thanks!

  6. the pvc cord contains lead. all cords do, they just now have to label them. you are supposed to wash your hands after handling any electrical cord. it’s in the plastic outer part, that touches your skin. how in the hell is one supposed to keep earphone cords from touching their skin. i gave up worrying about it. your body, if healthy, naturally gets rid of toxic metals. note i said, healthy. if you eat junk food, the metals stay in your body. then you develop disease.

  7. @kp, its not that PVC contains lead, PVC is polyvinylchorlide, which by definition, doesn’t contain lead.Its just that PVC itself is classified as a carcinogen.There is also the possibility of treatment agents still being present on the PVC itself, and relatively new PVC ‘gassing out’ ( That ‘lovely new’ plastic smell we all love, surprise surprise … its toxic )

  8. kp: human organism, no matter how healthy or despite of abstaining from junk-food, cannot get rid of lead (and other heavy metals, such as, for example, chrome). It just stores them in the kidney, and they accumulate.And Kent is right — PVC does not contain lead, but it’s treatment agents might (but not neccessarily). But even if they do — getting a lead poisoning through rubbing earphone cable on one’s skin is quite impossible 🙂

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