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Why Do Shark Vacuums Have Cancer Warnings? [Details Explained!!!]

You just got your Shark Vacuum. You may not even use it yet. When you unbox it, you find a replacement filter and discover a warning in fine print that reads: “This product contains chemicals, including lead, known to the State of California to cause cancer, and birth defects or other reproductive harm. WASH HANDS AFTER HANDLING.” 

You make your eyes big with surprise and ask- why do shark vacuums have cancer warnings? Should I really wash my hands after every time I use the vacuum? 

For your information, it is just a warning notification. It doesn’t mean using Shark vacuums exposes you to cancer. 

To understand this warning message, you should first know about Proposition 65, a law imposed by the State of California. Then, you can understand the relationship between the warning and why Shark vacuums label this message on. 

Fortunately, we break down everything about it throughout this article. So, keep reading. 

What does California prohibition 65 do?

According to the prohibition act of 1986, businesses should put a warning label on their products about the chemicals they use. It will let customers (especially Californians) know about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer. 

What does California prohibition 65 do

There are over 900 chemicals that are listed by authoritative organizations to cause cancer, birth defects,  and other reproductive problems. 

California’s proposition 65, labeled Safe Drinking Water and Toxicity Enforcement Act, creates consumer awareness on chemicals, appliances, products, and equipment that have harmful effects on human health. The act was passed and signed into law in 1986. 

It helps California residents make informed decisions when buying supplies, products, and appliances. Therefore, it protects residents from toxic chemicals that can cause health problems. 

The act requires the state to publish a list of chemicals that can cause reproductive toxicity and cancer. It’s a list that is updated annually.  To see the complete list check the Environmental Health Hazard Assessment website. Other authoritative organizations working alongside OEHHA to identify carcinogens are EPA, NTP, and IARC. 

What does this say about shark vacuums?

Typically electronics which include shark vacuums carry the cancer warning labels because of the electrical components the manufacturer uses in the circuit boards for example lead.

Shark vacuums, like most electronics, have to display the warning label for this reason. However, it doesn’t mean that using it exposes you to cancer. There is an infinitesimal chance of you getting cancer by using shark vacuums. 

Consequently, electronic experts admit that electronics with cancer warnings may not have lead metal in them at all. 

However, even in the likely scenario that electrical equipment is free of lead, nickel, or cadmium, it may still be using standard third party accessories from other manufacturers packaged with the equipment or machines like a power cable,  or power supply that has traces of lead on the PVC insulation and nickel. 

Therefore, the cancer warning label on shark vacuums only tells consumers that there is a chance that some components or accessories in the vacuum cleaner have traces of lead.

However, it doesn’t pose a health risk to the consumer nor is using shark vacuums a health hazard. It’s important to note that even beauty products and motor vehicles have these warnings but people are using them without getting cancer.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that the cancer warnings on shark vacuums are a compliance matter and do not necessarily indicate a health problem.

Should I be worried about the shark vacuum’s cancer warning?

Probably not. The warning is only a notification because you can only find trace amounts or low-risk substances. It would take a large amount of these substances to make a person sick. 

None of the materials come into contact with your beverage or food. Consumers don’t interact with them when doing cleaning chores. 

The warning labels are based on content and not exposure. It reduces the chances of getting cancer by using shark vacuums.

Why are there cancer warning labels on shark vacuums?

Shark vacuums clean surfaces better than most machines and is highly reliable. Most consumers are worried because of the cancer warnings by the California prohibition act. Why? Naturally, people fear getting cancer because of how ravaging the disease is on the human body. 

People take health warnings seriously and are very cautious about using products that are on the cancer warning list. 

The shark vacuums have the cancer warning label because they use some chemicals and metals that merit the toxicity warning. Besides, it complies with the California law that requires a warning label on anything containing lead or hazardous chemicals.  

So, it’s safe to say that shark vacuums use some of the chemicals or metal in their vacuums or that the products have exceeded the safe harbor amounts. 

Is a cancer warning label a good thing?

Yes. Many companies have changed their use of potentially carcinogenic substances which has boosted the health of users. For instance, Coca-Cola no longer uses 4-MEL which is carcinogenic. 

Manufacturers have been reformulating their products to make them safer. 

Also, it makes people more aware of how they use their electronics. For instance, they shouldn’t place them in water, lick, or eat the wires. 

In short,  the cancer warning labels make consumers more aware and responsible about how they use and dispose of these products.

How do I get clarification on the cancer warning label on my electronics?

As much as manufacturers and businesses are required to have warning labels on their products, the law doesn’t say they should list the chemicals or substances that can cause health problems.  Also, the law doesn’t require them to provide information about their products to OEHHA.

How do I get clarification on the cancer warning label on my electronics

Therefore, OEHHA can’t offer you the information on which chemicals or substances pose the potential health risk and how to avoid it together. So what do I do?

  • Check the product to get the name of the manufacturer and other written information 
  • Get the contact information from the product information or check the manufacturer’s website
  • Contact the product manufacturer and inquire about the potentially harmful substance in their product
  • Inquire about how a user can be exposed to a hazardous substance. Potential exposure means include inhalation, contact with your drink, or food from unwashed hands.
  • Find out the potential risks of those substances like reproductive health or cancer.
  • Ask about ways to reduce risks of exposure when using the products.

Once you know the potential risk substances you can research from other sources to get more information.


Cancer warning labels on electronics like vacuums, computers, and other products have made consumers safer. Companies are now using substances with low risk to human and animal health. It has created necessary awareness on usage of products and people are no longer taking health matters lightly.

Feel free to inquire about the cancer warning labels on your vacuum or other gadgets or products. Your health is important.  Leave us a comment concerning your thoughts on cancer warning labels.

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