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A Serious (?) Hazard!!

Just purchased a hank of SOL cordage with fire starting capability and read the following on the label
"The combustion of wood, charcoal, and other fuels can expose you to chemicals including carbon monoxide and soot which are known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm"

Thank goodness Cal is looking out for us! How would we ever know otherwise??

Prop 65 warning have long ceased to have any practical value. I expect to see a warning label on my next carton of ice cream.....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
11 Replies

Cal lab mice are pretty sickly, so as long as you arent a California lab rat, you are pretty much safe from all of that silliness.

I always get a chuckle from reading the Prop 65 warning on electrical cables, "WARNING: Handling the cord on this product will expose you to lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause [cancer, and] birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling."

I suspect we're more likely to die from electrocution or a fire that results from a frayed cable than we are to get cancer, etc. from handling a cable--even if we forget to wash our hands afterwards. And yet there's no warning for that risk.

...Wanderer


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Not sure I would by so cynical.  The are serious risks in all these chemicals - it's bad for you, your family, the environment, etc.

This is especially the flame retardants used in almost all tents (new standard came out in June 2020 but REI has only 1 flame retardant fee tent and has not pushed on its suppliers to do anything about it).

Here are some good reads:
https://www.rei.com/blog/news/rei-pursuing-new-testing-method-to-eliminate-flame-retardants
https://www.outsideonline.com/2406767/flame-resistant-tents-carcinogens-cancer

0 Likes
Not sure I would by so cynical. The are serious risks in all these chemicals - it's bad for you, your family, the environment, etc.

There are hazards all around us. Warnings serve a valuable purpose when the risk is significant and risk reduction is actionable.

  • Is there any evidence that touching cables has actually causes cancer in humans?
  • Is it practical for people to wash their hands every time they touch a cable? Does anyone comply?

There's also the issue of "crying wolf." It seems to me that the proliferation of Prop 65 warnings, among all sorts of other warnings, leads to the sort of cynicism you decry. 

It also makes it that much harder for people to distinguish between the warnings they really need to heed and the the 99%. 

...Wanderer


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

If you ingest 50000 times the highest level of exposure every week, maybe.

Did you miss the part in the second article where CA requires the use of flame retardants in tents which is why they are used? So CA requires tents to meet the standards, then CA puts warnings on the tents because of the chems....

The manufactures that dropped the chems just dont ship to CA, Canada, or the other 3 states that require them. That is the way to get the problem solved. CA can come around, or not.

Did you miss the part in the second article where CA requires the use of flame retardants in tents which is why they are used? So CA requires tents to meet the standards, then CA puts warnings on the tents because of the chems....

How many people have died because their tents, clothing, furniture, etc. caught fire and those items weren't treated with flame retardants compared to the number of people who died as a result of the application of flame retardants on those items?

 

...Wanderer


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I did see that.  This whole flame retardant debacle (whether in tents of furniture) is a result of unintended consequences of a good idea gone bad (i.e. flame retardants in furniture pushed by the tobacco industry because people fell asleep smoking on their couch / la-Z-boys - see HBO documentary "Toxic Hot Seat" and because canvas tents were burning down which got extended to all tents / shelters).

The Outside Article states, "The Canvas Products Association International wrote a flammability standard, CPAI-84, that has become the default standard for most tent makers, but it hasn’t been updated in more than 20 years."  Not sure lobbyists for Canvas products should be influencing by ultralight, backpacking or car camping tent made out of other materials.  That being said, there is a new standard out and has been since June 2020.  REI was part of helping write the standard so it should be on top of its game.

Flame retardants on nylon and polyester tents do not make scientific sense.

I would love to see the data on tent fires / deaths if it exists.  There is however adequate scientific data on the carcinogenic properties of flame retardants and how they rub off on hands, clothes, etc. which means this is just unnecessary for any number of reasons (false sense of security, bad for the environment, bad for supply chain, bad for public health, etc.)

The amount of carbon monoxide caused by that cordage is so minimal- the whole warning thing is really just a way for lawyers and big companies to knock out the little guy.

Stay safe and smart all.

So it sounds like you're safe as long as you don't live in California.