Warning: "Fireplace Log May Cause Fire" and Other Wacky Product Labels

January 22, 2002
Business Wires
WSOUTHFIELD, Michigan -- A label on a manufactured fireplace log which warns, "Caution -- Risk of Fire" has been identified as one of the nation's wackiest warning labels by a Michigan watchdog group.

Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch sponsors the annual "Wacky Warning Label Contest" to reveal how lawsuits, and concern about potential lawsuits, have created a need for common sense warnings on many of the products consumers use every day.

The winning labels were selected by listeners of the popular Dick Purtan show on WOMC (Oldies 104.3) in Detroit, Michigan. The fireplace log warning actually placed second to a label on a CD player. That label carries this unusual warning: "Do not use the Ultradisc2000 as a projectile in a catapult." Mary Beth Eckberg of Medina, Ohio, receives $500 and a copy of the book, "The Death of Common Sense," for her winning entry.

A Sunnyvale, California resident discovered the third place winner on a box of birthday candles. That label tells users: "DO NOT use soft wax as ear plugs or for any other function that involves insertion into a body cavity."

Honorable mention went to Jared Frantz, a fourth grader from Ann Arbor, Michigan who found a label on a 35mm camera which warns: "When operating the selector dial with your eye to the viewfinder, care should be taken not to put your finger in your eye accidentally." Jared received help finding a label from his father, Dr. Paul Frantz, an expert on warning labels at Applied Safety and Ergonomics in Ann Arbor.

"Despite the obvious humor in the wacky warning labels, the purpose of this contest is not to make fun of those who put funny warnings on products," said Robert B. Dorigo Jones, President of Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, M-LAW. "The contest was created to reveal that frivolous lawsuits have become such a problem in our society that common sense warnings are necessary."

M-LAW is a non-partisan organization created to increase public awareness of how frivolous lawsuits affect the way Americans work and live and to promote changes that will restore common sense to the courts.

For more about M-LAW or to enter the "Wacky Warning Label Contest," call 1-888-321-MLAW (6529), or visit www.mlaw.org on the Internet.

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

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