Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

LED flashlight, how dangerous are they?

  1. Sep 7, 2008 #1
    Ordered this:

    Got this warning


    "Always wear ANSI approved safety goggles when using this product. Before using this product, the user should read the operating instructions to understand everything about this product. Normal everyday use of this product is likely to expose the user to dust and microscopic particles containing lead and other chemicles known in the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Always wear the appropriate clothing and safety equipment when operating this product. Wash hand thoroughly after the use and handling of this product." (I assume if you held the flashlight in both hands, you would wash both hands thoroughly. You usually don't wash one hand without washing the other.)

    What kind of risk is this? My flashlight did not come with any "operating instructions" either. I just bought it, and other supplies, because we've been experiencing our own "rolling blackouts" in my area: we lose power from time to time even in the middle of the day, with no bad weather going on (I assume this is to happen more often - shifting global climate and increased demand is a lot of fun). So I don't plan to use it everyday, but when I do, I imagine I won't be using those goggles, what kind of risk am I in? I'm guessing my bed clothing isn't appropriate for using this flashlight either.

    Why do they feel the need to say "known in the state of California to cause cancer"; these chemicals haven't been shown anywhere else to cause cancer? Does it really matter where it was the chemicals were causing cancer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2008 #2

    California has stricter standards than the EPA in many areas.

    Look at a can of paint thinner, there will be a California warning on it, but no federal EPA warning.
    The EPA thinks that casual exposure is not harmful, the state of California think that it is.

    Even automobiles must meet stricter pollution standards in California.
  4. Sep 7, 2008 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Normal everyday use will expose you to lead? Uh, no.

    And the safety goggles are only if you plan on poking yourself in the eye with it.
  5. Sep 7, 2008 #4
    Lol, what a bunch of idiots in KALIFORNA government.

    You're not seriously asking if this is a health risk, are you? :rolleyes:
  6. Sep 7, 2008 #5
    Rubber gloves are required to handle an LED flashlight in california. Awnold says so.
  7. Sep 7, 2008 #6
    You sure you read that right? being exposed to LEDs as opposed to LEAD?
    Wouldn't that be funny? the guy who wrote the warnings might be new, but he knows led is bad for you.
  8. Sep 7, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    omg...LED = Lead Emitting Diodes!

    Run, run for your lives!
  9. Sep 7, 2008 #8
    You could get LED poisoning. Why the heck would anyone want a flashlight made out of that stuff anyway? Must be made in china.
  10. Sep 7, 2008 #9


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Heh - didn't even consider the possibility they got the wrong led.
  11. Sep 7, 2008 #10
    Yes, the product actually is made in China. It says "lead and other chemicals..." It is an "LED flashlight gun metal" carrying such a warning.

    My own general blueprint I have for designing things is, where it concerns the building and cost analysis, to make it safe as possible. So if there was a huge cost benefit to making it slightly dangerous I may design it that way, but if there is only a minor difference I would design it the safe way and if the difference is truly miniscule you might as well still err on the safe side. It's a good algorithm.

    The thread was serious, but I really wasn't worried that much because i don't plan on using it everyday. I've had family members get checked for cancer recently and younger neighbors have died around here from cancer. I know a lot of products from China have shown to be harmful.

    I'm not a medical doctor or an engineer with an understanding of safety guidelines, so I don't know. I just thought it was worded a little weird and wanted to see the nature of the warning.
  12. Sep 7, 2008 #11
    Yes, I'm aware of California's stricter safety standards. I would have worded it something like "and there has been concern in California that it causes..." blah blah blah. The way it was worded seems to mock the California but it could have been written by someone speaking English as a second language, like the manuals for a lot of computer hardware are.
  13. Sep 7, 2008 #12
    keep it out of your mouth and don't worry about it
  14. Sep 7, 2008 #13
    Yeah, a little worried..... more like paranoid. Let's get real here. An aluminum flashlight is going to give you cancer?

    Lets please use some critical thinking here....

    For the bold, what products? Some have had lead in it, but I haven't heard of anyone getting cancer or dying. People are too paranoid about lead. When I work on model airplanes I have a nice solid CHUNK of lead that I use as a weight, its the size of your palm and weighs about a pound or two. I guess I better wear safty googles. :rofl:
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  15. Sep 8, 2008 #14


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I agree that people are too paranoid about lead. Lead is a problem if you have a lot of exposure to it - like if you cake lead powder on your face or eat it. Handling lead fishing weights or lead-based solder would not be enough to cause a problem.

    And this flashlight - cyrus is right - it probably doesn't have any lead in it.
  16. Sep 8, 2008 #15
    In California, I think you have to label any chemical that has been shown to raise the likelihood of developing cancer by a certain degree, even if the chemical, in the form it is presented is inert.

    For example, even if the chemical is contained in such a way that it is virtually impossible that, during normal use of a product, someone could be exposed to such a chemical, it still needs a warning label.

    To avoid running afoul of the law, a lot of public buildings will post the warning on the front, even if they do not actually contain any chemicals that require a warning, so the warning is not very effective in most cases.
  17. Sep 8, 2008 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    California have just added Galium to the list of warning required chemicals.
    A lot of LEDs use Ga, the labels say "Lead or other chemicals" because lead was the first chemical you have to warn about and instead of having to change the label everytime a new substance was added they just have this broad warning.
    The eye protection is required for all tools, if you make tools it's easier to put it on everything (I have seen it on dust masks!) than have to decide for each product.

    Of course the whole thing makes the workplace less safe - since any office with a laser printer now has a warning notice people will learn to disregard them. so when you come accross a big vat of proper nasty chemical you ignore those warnigns as well.
  18. Sep 8, 2008 #17
    Almost every job will have a book of MDFS sheets for every chemical you may come into contact with at your work. I don't know if everybody has this, but I've seen one for distilled water.
  19. Sep 8, 2008 #18
    I'm not worried. My LED flashlight comes with a red warning light in case the levels of LED increase beyond a safe level. Also, there is a metal cap covering the red warning light just in case. I think the cap is made of lead for extra protection.
  20. Sep 8, 2008 #19
    My flashlight has an opaque lens to prevent accidental blindness.
  21. Sep 8, 2008 #20


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Are there any PVC components like electrical wires or a bezel? Lead octoate is often used as a plasticizer and warnings about exposure to lead from that source have been included in electronics recently. My christmas lights had such a warning.

    Bad ju ju!
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: LED flashlight, how dangerous are they?
  1. For Danger (Replies: 8)

  2. The Danger Special (Replies: 16)

  3. Unicorn dangers (Replies: 9)

  4. Danger's back (Replies: 47)