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January 23, 2014

Warning Labels Helping Lawyers, Not Consumers

California’s warning label law hasn’t improved the health of the state’s residents, writes Michael Marlow in the Wall Street Journal, but one group is benefiting – plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Proposition 65 requires labels on consumer products that contain any one of 800 chemicals. It was intended to fight cancer, but, according to Marlow, “there isn’t a single empirical study that demonstrates any public health benefits.”

Instead, the law has turned into a windfall for “bounty hunter” plaintiffs – and their lawyers -who can collect a portion of any civil penalties.

“The only winners from Proposition 65 are the attorneys who bring lawsuits,” writes Marlow.

And the harm isn’t confined to California. Chuck Firth, the creator of the Durascoop Original “poop scooper”, was sued under the California law for not including a warning label on the plastic handle. Chuck lives in Illinois, not California, but he still might have to close his doors because of Prop 65.

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