Why do Warning Labels exist?

Published: 02nd June 2010
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Warning Labels make for most wonderful jokes on the rainiest days.

Why are they so prolific? What is the need for all of these crazy warning labels? Are these companies just trying to find more things for their staff to do?

And why, most importantly, are these warning labels often so obvious and stupid?

Because someone already did it.


In this article we will entertain you not only with a brief history of warning labels and where the idea came from, but also examples of cases that advocated for their use.

To conclude, we will offer you with a tidbit of wacky warning labels to keep in mind when you're using your un-seemingly dangerous households goods.
Let's just say, it's not the tool, but how you use it!...

History
Warning labels first began in the USA in 1938when the US Congress pass a law mandating that food products have a list of ingredients on the label. (Seattle Times, 2006)
Then from 1966, cigarette packets donned the surgeon general's warning to health. Federal agencies became involved with the decision making process of warning labels, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
There are three types of warning labels:
CAUTION: indicates a potentially hazardous situation that, if not avoided, may result in minor or moderate injury.
WARNING: indicates a potentially hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.
DANGER: indicates an imminently hazardous situation that, if not avoided, will result in death or serious injury. This word is limited to the use in the most extreme situations.
Here are some great examples of hilarious warning labels:

Labels on Food
On the case of a chocolate CD in a gift basket: Do not place this product into any electronic equipment.

On a jar of peanut butter: May contain nuts.

On a bag of Doritos: You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

On sugarless Bubble Yum: Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

On A Cup Of Coffee: Caution! Contents are HOT!

On the bottom of a Tesco's Tiramisu dessert: Do not turn upside down.

On a roll of Life Savers: Not for use as a flotation device.

On Lychee Jelly: The people under 3 years old or more than 60 years old are forbidden to eat alone.

On a box of wine: Do not drink and walk in the road, you may get killed!

On a bottle of NOW Super Omega 3-6-9 fish oil softgels: Do not eat freshness packet. Keep in bottle.
Labels on Household Items
On an "Aim-n-Flame" fireplace lighter: Do not use near fire, flame, or sparks.

On a hair dryer: Do not use in shower. Never use while sleeping.

On Tampax Tampons: Remove used tampon before inserting new one.

On ACT Childrens Oral Rinse: Keep out of reach of children.

On Lady Speed Stick Deoderant: For external use only.

On the package of an Ace Garden Hose: Do not spray water into an electrical outlet. Severe electrical shock could result.

On a lawnmower: Do not place hands or feet under mower when engine is running.

On a package of Just For Men haircolor: This product must not be used for dying eyelashes or eyebrows. To do so may cause blindness.

On a bottle of Head and Shoulders Shampoo: For external use only.

On Boot's Children's cough medicine: Do not drive car or operate machinery.

On a Korean kitchen knife: Warning keep out of children.

On a disposable razor: Do not use this product during an earthquake.

On a can of Fix-a-Flat: Not to be used for breast augmentation.

On a calendar: Use of term "Sunday" for reference only. No meteorological warranties express or implied.

On a Medela Pump in Style breast pump: "Close supervision is necessary when this product is used by, on, or near children or invalids."

Labels on Toys and Other Items For Children
On a frisbee: May contain small parts.

On a portable stroller: Remove infant before folding for storage.

On a child sized Superman costume: Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.

On an infant's bathtub: Do not throw baby out with bath water.

On a Magic 8 Ball: Not advised for use as a home pregnancy test.

On the packaging of the recently released Original episodes of Sesame Street DVDs: Intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today.

On a package of stickers at Petco: Not intended for use by children. May leave sticky residue.


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