If you’ve just kitted yourself out with a musical instrument or any other gear marked with ‘P65’ or ‘Proposition 65’, often with the added warning “This product may contain / can expose you to chemicals which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm,” is it this something you actually need to worry about? In short: no. But to find out what the warning actually means and why you don’t need to panic, read on!

Er staat 'Proposition 65' op mijn muziekinstrument - Moet ik me zorgen maken?

800 Chemicals

In 1986, residents of California in the USA became increasingly concerned about the toxic chemicals that might be hidden inside certain pieces of equipment. So concerned, in fact, that a law was passed stating that any item sold in the state of California containing any one of the more-than 800 chemicals concerned should be clearly marked with a warning. So, the warning quoted above is only actually applicable if you live in California.

“But I Don’t Live in California”

But you still find yourself with a piece of equipment marked with that P65 warning? Here’s why: since it would be impractical to design special, exclusive packaging for the Californian market, factories that supply products to the United States slap a P65 warning on everything just to be on the safe side, and so they can avoid any unmarked stock reaching California by mistake.

Is My Gear Dangerous?

No. It’s highly unlikely that you’re actually in any danger. Firstly, the warning indicates that the construction of the equipment you have includes a chemical that appears on the list detailed under Proposition 65. Of course, that list isn’t nonsense, but it’s worth understanding that Californian state law tends to lie on the (extremely) safe-side. Guidelines provided by global health organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO), European legislation and even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration often aren’t as extreme as those of California. This definitely doesn’t mean that other organisations are more relaxed – far from it. Proposition 65 just gives you an idea of how cautious (and some might say, overly cautious) Californian laws can get.

Have you got any gear marked with the P65 warning? Let us know in the comments!

See also…

» The Electric Guitar: History, Sound and Playing Techniques
» Auto-Tune, Melodyne… Is Using Pitch-Correction Cheating?
» Smoke Machines: Are They Dangerous?
» Headphones & Hearing Damage: The Facts

1 response
  1. Kyle says:

    My Odyssey carry case contains a warning p65 label… which makes you wonder how safe it is to use? IT’s just a carry case.

    I’d be intrigued to know what part of the case is potentially toxic.

Leave a Reply