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April 20, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Belkin optical mouse

Front_1Backmouse Michael Witt points out:

The box that this Belkin mouse is packaged in has a warning label that says:


This product contains chemicals, including lead, known to the state of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm.

Wash hands after handling.

"Wash hands after handling"?? It's a mouse!


yet another problem solvable through the use of telekinesis.

Posted by: gmangw at April 20, 2006 12:11 AM

lol wow that's screwed up on another note yay second!

Posted by: O RLY! at April 20, 2006 12:29 AM

at least it's only dangerous in the state of california.

Posted by: BannanaSam at April 20, 2006 12:59 AM

That's a load off my mind, Sam...

One heavy mouse made out of lead...

Posted by: =David at April 20, 2006 01:21 AM

As a resident of California I can tell you exactly why this is included... because too many idiots are in control and want to make everyone's life perfectly clean and perfectly safe...

Excuse me, but I'm late for my skydiving lesson and I want to pick up some paint chips to snack on the plane...

Posted by: Horatio at April 20, 2006 01:37 AM

While the sticker is clearly the wrong one, this is presumably associated with Restriction of Hazardous Substances labelling, which has the laudable goal of, if not reducing the amount of Horrible Stuff in products, at least telling people if there's a treasure chest full of heavy metals and halides in there, so on your own head be it if you chuck the thing into an incinerator.

The user seldom comes into contact with any of the substances in question, but other people certainly can - like, for instance, the poor schmuck in China who eventually takes the thrown-away device apart (by whatever means is fastest).

Posted by: Daniel Rutter at April 20, 2006 02:36 AM

I'm certain the only part you need to worry about is the cable. AFAIK, cables are sometimes covered with lead-based paints to reduce the effects of electromagnetic noise.

Nearly every electronic device you own contains lead, so I'm sure this warning is applied only when you might come in contact with the lead.

The EU's RoHS directive ( is trying to change that, though. Many suppliers now offer "RoHS-compliant" versions of their products.

Posted by: Karl at April 20, 2006 03:06 AM

_@_v - well mice are pretty filthy...

Posted by: she-snailie_@_v at April 20, 2006 03:54 AM

The lead is inside. The solder used to make connections on a printed circuit board is an alloy of lead and tin.

It is not the mouse that is broken; it is the warning label. The lead will never come in contact with the user unless the user is a hardware hacker like me.

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at April 20, 2006 06:54 AM

I don't have any links, but but my recollection is that the State of California has legislation that mandates these types of warning labels. The manufacturers has no choice in the matter if they want to be in compliance with California law. Although the aims of the law may be laudable, the results are sometimes a little odd.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at April 20, 2006 08:08 AM

If this is "broken" you're going to have to list all kinds of products. I worked in a job where we sold cables -- nowhere near California -- and we had to include that warning label because the vendor blanketed all of their products for liability reasons. essentially, if you're selling stuff in Califirnia, you label your packages this way.

We had to write a script for or phone support agents because so many people called up asking about it. Eventually, we included a letter in each package explaining that the products were perfectly safe and that the warning was required by California. I saw the list of substances which require this warning and I recall that it's about 15 printed pages long.

Posted by: Chris at April 20, 2006 09:01 AM

Just don't be licking the thing, you'll be fine I'm sure.

Posted by: Pumpkin Noggin at April 20, 2006 09:19 AM

Just don't be licking the thing, you'll be fine I'm sure.

Posted by: Pumpkin Noggin at April 20, 2006 09:20 AM

oops....guess I'm double talkin' again

Posted by: Pumpkin Noggin at April 20, 2006 09:21 AM

I'm back again; and I'd like to say that the manufacturers nowadays are idiots. Wash your hands after handling a COMPUTER mouse? Wake up, jerks! You think by touching a mouse it's going to kill you. Unless the lead is used for the outer "shell" of the mouse...

Posted by: Master Chef at April 20, 2006 09:21 AM

A similar warning label appears on the Saitek P880 Dual Analog PC Game Pad.

Posted by: Adam Vandenberg at April 20, 2006 09:25 AM

Well ... you should washing your hands at least once a day anyway. ;)

Posted by: Xo at April 20, 2006 09:53 AM

This is why I decided to get a 'hands-free' mouse. :P

Posted by: Michael McWatters at April 20, 2006 10:15 AM


In the picture, it says the warning is talking about the scroll button.

|_| p30p13 R 411 |\|0085!! 1 l0\/3 1331!

Posted by: James at April 20, 2006 10:35 AM

Wrong; the text underneath the blow-up of the warning label applies to the scroll wheel.

Posted by: Louis at April 20, 2006 10:51 AM

The warning is because of Proposition 65 in 1986. It requires these sorts of warning labels, which are well-intentioned but often somewhat incongruous. My favorite is the label on bags of sand for children's sandboxes. Betcha didn't know sandbox sand is dangerous...

Posted by: Stan at April 20, 2006 11:30 AM

I say: If there is any product that has a stupid "note" on it, don't buy it. It's not worth your money.

Posted by: Master Chef at April 20, 2006 11:53 AM

The only exception to a warning sign for something to do with technology, would be a battery. I had one fizz out acid. I touched it by accident. Fortunately, it didn't eat away the skin on my fingers.

Posted by: Master Chef at April 20, 2006 11:56 AM

That is a reason to wash your hands if you've touched it afterwards.

Posted by: Master Chef at April 20, 2006 11:57 AM

The problem with Prop 65 and similar legislation is that it causes far too many products to appear with warnign labels. It becomes so commonplace that people will simply not pay attention to them because they have no relevance to their experience with the product.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at April 20, 2006 12:26 PM

Most likely, this warning is in place because lead solder is used on the circuit board inside the mouse. Unless someone opens the mouse (or it falls on the floor and breaks), there is little likelyhood of coming in contact with any lead. Being that this is an optical mouse, there is probably no need to ever open it up. I had to open up my old rollerball-type mouse almost monthly to clean out the gunk that would accumulate inside. I have never had to open up my optical mouse since I bought it a year ago.

Posted by: eBob at April 20, 2006 12:38 PM

Look inside. It probably has a chunk of lead to make it heavy enough to be usable. At least that's what Logitech used to do.

Posted by: No Body at April 20, 2006 03:21 PM

This also applies to you if you have to remove any mouse's balls. It is true that handling mouse balls can spread illness, as they are usually dirty. They pick up crumbs and such from wherever they roam. Once I had to take out one ball, because the mouse was squeeking. It really made a lot of noise as I was removing the ball, but then it got quiet after a good cleaning. I had to wash my hands after that, I tell you. Catching the little rodent was another story.

Posted by: Arthur Dent at April 20, 2006 04:10 PM

This product warning reminds me of CarQuest Brake Parts Cleaner. It has a warning that also states "This product is known to cause birth defects in the state of California."

I live in PA so apparently is known to NOT cause birth defects in this state.

CA must be the Chernoybl of the US.

Posted by: Capt. Wafer at April 20, 2006 04:35 PM

In this Instance I don't think the product is broken but California is broken for having such strict regulations that a majority of products have to have the warning mentioned on them...I've seen it quite a few times and the products were from different companies

Posted by: Infinity306 at April 20, 2006 06:11 PM

Just being in California is a birth defect. When I'm done with the mouse, I'll wash my hands and go outside for a smoke.

Posted by: Paul at April 20, 2006 07:50 PM

For common things like lead, the warning should be necessary only if a certain amount is present, and if it is not on the surface, it should not say 'wash hands after use'.

The world is overpopulated, so we need some natural selection to make the human race better. I say we eliminate all obvious warning labels (like caution: contents hot on coffee cups and microwaveable food).

Posted by: ythjdfg at April 20, 2006 09:55 PM

Dood, like u said, ITS A MOUSE!!! wouldnt u wash ur hands after toushing ANY mouse? they r rodents u know, stupid little things that r only good for testing stuff on! lol (sry ppl who like mice -- i HATE mice!) have a nice day! :) lol

Posted by: NCeJ at April 20, 2006 10:59 PM


First of all, who the he!! paints cables??!? Cables are not *painted* by sane individuals! Paint flakes, particularly when flexed.

Perhaps, the the components of the rubber encasing the cables are conductive. Eh, no... the cable is just wrapped in wire braid before the rubber coating. Adding metals to insulation would descrease the insulation rating of the cable! You don't put conductive elements in insulators meant to protect people and devices. MAYBE in extreme situations a cable's insulation is meant to be conductive, but I can't think of any situations where the cost would justify doing so.

Yeah, ESD bags and such discharge electrostatic buildup(they have conductive properties), but measure them with an ohm-meter- they're insulators for all intents.

Oh, and for your RoHs garbage, there is no long term evidence that the choice of alloys for lead-free are any less dangerous in the environment than lead.

Cali is broken...

Posted by: doh at April 20, 2006 11:22 PM

Apparently lead is used in the manufacturing of certain plastics or rubber. Even extension cords have the lead warning and say to wash hands after handling.

Posted by: Timm at April 21, 2006 01:35 AM

I guess I shouldn't chew on them anymore.

Posted by: JAC at April 21, 2006 12:05 PM

Yet another unsafe product in california.


to ythjdfg,

we can't stop using labals like"caution coffee is hot" becouse people sue and win for small stuff like that. ITS STUIPED

Posted by: TD at April 21, 2006 01:51 PM

I wonder why it doesn't warn you against burning the wire and sniffing the cancer causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins which result from burning wires made from PVC?

Posted by: DW at April 21, 2006 05:09 PM

99% of Belkin products are crap.

Posted by: troubleshoot at April 21, 2006 09:26 PM

Thank, Arthur, for the mouse balls clause. Can't say I would really want to remove anyone's balls. You don't realize till you are the reader how funny your comment starts out.

If people have to super-explain such a stupid label, it really becomes tiresome.

If the warning--albeit considered necessary--does not apply to the whole thing, then it should be specified. All these comments about the mouse ball, the track this and that, the lead in the soldering, the lead weight in it, the possibility that the lead is on the wiring----well, the company should be specific. You are more than likely to come into contact with many of those parts on a regular basis. Who wnats to hold a mouse for a long time and get lead poisoning. Appreciate the warning, don't like the lead, though. Would be nice to know exactly where it is, since it could be in any one of those ambiguous places. Would be nice to leave it out. Isn't there some other substance that is not harmful that can be used?

Man, I didn't want to say all this about this stupid thing. But all the hoopla prompted my fingers to type.

Posted by: zakyam at April 22, 2006 08:59 AM

I would wash my hands after touching that mouse... I mean all rodents are dirty, they scourage around rubbish bins and sewers. I guess maybe this is broken... I mean since it is an 'OPTICAL' mouse. I mean Humans can be eye doctors but i'm pretty sure mice can't be. You don't see mice running around with glasses everyday do you?

If you look carefully at the box you can see that there is a lifetime warrenty. That is probably broken as well unless they mean the lifetime of the mouse. Most humans live longer than mice. Unless of course you touch one. =D

Posted by: Jweez at April 22, 2006 11:25 AM

The one I loved was that a company I worked for got in trouble for not having a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) available for water. Yeah water. Basically the sheet said 0 on all hazard categories, but "immersion in this chemical for extended periods of time can cause death". IE you can die if you are under water long enough. wonder what chemical this doesn't apply to ;-) Better yet why would anyone need a sheet of paper to tell them this.

Posted by: Ray Stevens at April 22, 2006 12:04 PM

To quote a November 2, 2005 Disney warning label, "No Gift Boxing"

Posted by: joe at April 22, 2006 06:50 PM

The side entrance door to most Embassy Suites hotels in California carry this warning, only it's phrased "This HOTEL contains chemicals.. known to cause birth defects...".

This cracked me up so hard when I first saw it, I stopped at the front desk to ask about it. The desk staff was totally confused, and quite alarmed. I guess they'd never read the sign before. "We'll look into this right away, sir," they assured me, with a look of growing fear in their eyes.


Posted by: Robert Barlow-Busch at April 24, 2006 04:11 PM

Everything in California is cancerous

Posted by: Frank at April 25, 2006 11:34 PM

..a possible extension of PC-ness?

Posted by: Brandon at April 26, 2006 03:08 AM

Wow. I guess THIS is why Doc Ock likes his mechanical arms. LOL!!!

Oh, and the "robotic arm" toy that grabs things at a distance will definately help here, too. lol...

Posted by: another guy named Alex B. at April 28, 2006 12:33 PM

These Prop 65 signs are plastered all over the place in California. Like parking lots, for example (since they contain exhaust fumes, and oil stains). They just confirm my theory that life causes cancer.

Posted by: Geotpf at May 1, 2006 07:34 PM

Shouldn't the photo be a map of California?

I read in the MSDS for hand soap that it causes irritation, especially to mucous membranes, and that you should wash your hands after handling it.


Posted by: Eric H at May 7, 2006 02:27 PM

I have a coffee mug from the Santa Clara County Department of Health, with a sticker on the bottom that it has lead paint, and dont drink hot fluids with it. Broken, thanks valley med, I appreciate the mineral supplement!

Posted by: Wu Jie-yin at May 11, 2006 06:08 AM

CAT5 and USB cables usually come with lead as one of their components. But mice?

Posted by: Kenny Blackmon at June 12, 2006 02:57 AM

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