Warning label on electrical cord reads: “This product contains lead, wash your hands after handling.” Is this a serious health risk? Should you really wash your hands after touching an electrical cord?

I’ve seen this warning label on a number of consumer products, ranging from lamps, extension cords, and even my Foreman Grill.



  1. 0 Votes

    It may not be serious if you handle the cord once or twice, but it’s probably safer to wash your hands after each time anyway. Long-term exposure to lead can cause health problems. Lead enters the body through various means, whether it is through inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin. Once it enters the body, it gets distributed through your system and can create risks wherever it ends up. Unfortunately, many cords and similar products still contain lead, so I would make a habit of washing after each use.

  2. 0 Votes

    As a chemist, I have learned that most real risk comes from repeated exposure to something toxic. With that in mind, you probably don’t need to worry about what you touched in the past and not washed your hands afterward (unless you are an electrician maybe).  Also as a chemist, I have got into a good habit of washing my hands very frequently. Especially when exposing myself to inorganic materials (like electrical cords, household cleaners, etc) which the human body is not really built for detoxifying.  So in short, yes wash your hands–but don’t worry if you haven’t in the past.

  3. 0 Votes

    Various governments have different thresholds of when lead becomes an issue. For example, California’s is more strict than the national level, so many manufacturers add the warning label to satisfy CA law. Whether it’s an issue for you or not depends heavily on which threshold you consider the “right” one, the CA or USA version.

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