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Stupid Warning Labels

We are in the process of doing a home flooring project and just bought some filler (floor leveler) for cracks in the floor. On the can there is a warning – “Do not ingest [eat].”

Duh, and I was just planning to use it for a “white sauce.”

That got me to thinking about some of the warnings that are routinely printed on the products we use every day and where some of them could have come from. I mean, are there really people out there who think we are so completely stupid that we would do some of the things they warn us against?

I think our government, in particular those agencies that deal with safety issues and develop the warnings for products, have gotten out of hand. They must use their huge taxpayer funded budgets to hire employees who are paid to sit around and think of the most ridiculous uses possible for the things we buy, and write label warnings so we “little children who don’t know any better” won’t hurt ourselves.

To see if I was right, I “googled” it. Just look up “stupid product warnings,” and these are actually in use! There are pages and pages of them. Mike won’t let me use the whole newspaper to list them all, so I picked out just a few of my favorites:

  • “Do not use if you cannot see clearly to read the information in the information booklet.” — In the information booklet.
  • “Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish.” — On a bottle of shampoo for dogs.
  • “Do not use while sleeping.” — On a hair dryer.
  • “Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking.” — On a toilet at a public sports facility in Ann Arbor.
  • “Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover.” — On a pair of shin guards made for bicyclists.
  • “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.” — On an electric rotary tool.
  • “Caution: Do not spray in eyes.” — On a container of underarm deodorant. “I also found this one on my own can of Febreze spray…
  • “Do not drive with sunshield in place.” — On a cardboard sunshield that keeps the sun off the dashboard.
  • “Do not eat toner.” — On a toner cartridge for a laser printer.
  • “This product is not to be used in bathrooms.” — On a Holmes bathroom heater.
  • “May irritate eyes.” — On a can of self-defense pepper spray.
  • “Eating rocks may lead to broken teeth.” — On a novelty rock garden set called “Popcorn Rock.”
  • “Caution: Hot beverages are hot!” — On a coffee cup.
  • “Caution: Shoots rubber bands.” — On a product called “Rubber Band Shooter.”
  • “Do not use orally.” — On a toilet bowl cleaning brush.
  • “Not suitable for children aged 36 months or less.” — On a birthday card for a 1 year old.
  • “Do not look into laser with remaining eye.” — On a laser pointer.
  • “Do not use for drying pets.” — In the manual for a microwave oven.
  • “For use on animals only.” — On an electric cattle prod.
  • “For use by trained personnel only.” — On a can of air freshener.
  • “Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you.” — On a motorcycle helmet-mounted rear-view mirror.
  • “Please store in the cold section of the refrigerator.” — On a bag of fresh grapes in Australia.
  • “Warning: knives are sharp!” — On the packaging of a sharpening stone.
  • “Twist top off with hands. Throw top away. Do not put top in mouth.” — On a bottled drink  label.
  • “Warning: has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice.” — On a box of rat poison.
  • “Fragile. Do not drop.” — Posted on a Boeing 757.
  • “Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage.” — On a portable stroller.
  • “Do not iron clothes on body.” — On packaging for a Rowenta iron.
  • “For indoor or outdoor use only.” — On a string of Christmas lights.
  • “Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted.” — On a sign at a railroad station.
  • “Warning: do not use if you have prostate problems.” — On a box of Midol PMS relief tablets.
  • “Do not turn upside down.” — On the bottom of a supermarket dessert box.
  • “May be harmful if swallowed.” — On a shipment of hammers.
  • “Do not attempt to stop the blade with your hand.” — In the manual for a Swedish chainsaw.
  • “Warning: May contain nuts.” — On a package of peanuts.

But I have to say that my all-time favorite stupid warning label is this one: “Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.” — On a child sized Superman costume.

Darn.