WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
That label seems to appear on everything. While it is meant to warn consumers about potential cancer-causing chemicals in their products, it’s really a testament of the foolishness of democracy. That label was the result of Proposition 65, which was a voter initiative that appeared on the California ballot and was voted into law by California voters.
Fortunately, some sanity may be returning to labeling. After a judge decided that coffee should include a Proposition 65 warning label, some people have finally decided that the warning label may be getting applied a bit too liberally:
After a judge ruled in March that coffee should be served with jolting labels that alert drinkers to a cancer risk, the state of California seems to have woken up to the concern that its pervasive health warnings may have gone too far.
“There’s a danger to overwarning—it’s important to warn about real health risks,” Sam Delson told The New York Times.
Delson is the deputy director for external and legislative affairs for California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. The office proposed a regulation shortly after a March ruling that would unequivocally declare that any cancer-linked components of roasted and brewed coffee “pose no significant risk of cancer.” Today, August 16, the proposed regulation is getting a public hearing in Sacramento.
If the regulation is adopted, it’s expected to nullify the warning on Californians’ sacred morning brews. It’s also expected to water-down the controversial law known as Proposition 65 that led to the warning—and scores of others.
Warning labels become pointless if they are applied to things to which the warning doesn’t apply. The Proposition 65 warning label has been misapplied so frequently that it has becoming the common butt of jokes. Nobody with an iota of common sense takes the warning label seriously.
Even if Proposition 65 is watered down, it should remain a testament to the stupidity of people in large numbers.