Make sure to handle carcinogens safely before inhaling a different carcinogen

One of my colleagues pointed out a sign at an automobile tire center where they use lead weights for balancing wheels. It read (paraphrased):

Lead has been known to cause cancer. Ensure that you wash your hands before eating or smoking.

Comments (17)
  1. dakirw says:

    Pretty sad. The fear of lawsuits and a bunch of consumer protection laws has lead to so many disclaimers being posted that most of us tend to ignore them.

  2. njkayaker says:

    So, no sign would be better? (No sign would be even easier to ignore!)

    Somewhat amusing but not broken. People who smoke should be aware of the "costs" and smoke by choice (ignoring the addiction stuff).

    Washing your hands reduces the risk.

  3. Gene says:

    Even more trivia: Lead also causes brain damage, and has been blamed for the fall of the Roman Empire, where they used it in the plumbing pipes. This is why the Latin name for lead is plumbum, and the chemical symbol is Pb.

  4. JS says:

    Smoking is bad for you, but smoking while inhaling lead has got to be way worse.

  5. Gabe says:

    The Romans used lead in makeup, wine, and as food seasoning. I somehow find it hard to believe that smoking after clipping little lead weights onto wheels will measurably impact one’s health.

  6. Actually, smoking does make a huge difference in terms of toxicity. This isn’t about lawsuits, it’s about public health; it’s like the "employees must wash hands before handling food" placards in restaurant restrooms…

    If the employer utilizes a carcinogen, they’re obligated to spell out the risks to their employees.

  7. Andrew says:

    I think the humor here is that you should wash your hands before smoking because this will reduce your exposure to carcinogens.  The health impact of smoking however…

  8. ArC says:

    Aren’t there cases where smoking can dramatically increase (that is, it’s not just linear) the effects of other toxins?

  9. Cheong says:

    The point is, is someone’s health is harmed by lead ingestion/compond inhalation, the company is to be blame.

    While if someone’s health is damaged by smoking, the company won’t be responsible for that.

    The notice is for the company’s sake, not for the people actually… :P

  10. Cheong says:

    To ArC: There’ll be some problem if your hand touch the lead then touch the part of cigarette that you put in your mouth.

    I’ve also come up with the thought that lead filings(small particles fall of because of friction that are light enough to float in air) in the air will burn with the cigarette and produce organic lead compounds, but then the lead filing inhalation itself seems to be more harmful, so I found it hard to convince me as the reason.

  11. Brian says:

    While I understand the humor of this warning it does serve a purpose.  I wouldn’t be surprised if people working in garages tend to enjoy the occasional cigarette, and it might not have occurred to them that smoking right after handling bits of lead might be more dangerous than just smoking.  Everybody knows that smoking is bad for you, but that doesn’t mean that someone who choses to smoke also has to be exposed unnecessarily to additional dangers.  I don’t see what’s wrong with informing people when they are doing something that increases their risk, even if the thing they are doing is already risky to begin with.

  12. Mark Sowul says:

    I think you’re all missing the point of this

  13. :: Wendy :: says:

    But i dont have to wash my hands before I suck my thumb?  That’s wacky.

  14. Richard Brightwell says:

    Let’s go for three carcinogens! Use your lead covered hands to smoke your Kent Micronite asbestos filtered cigarettes. Now THAT’S how to get some cancer baby! (  

  15. Gene: "…the Roman Empire, where they used it in the plumbing pipes. This is why the Latin name for lead is plumbum…"

    Other way round, surely? The English word "plumbing" is from the Latin for lead.

  16. Neil Wood says:

    Yeah, and if they put my wheel weights on the outside of the wheel instead of the inside, they better watch out for some pine tar coated wood as well.

  17. Stephen Jones says:

    —-"The Romans used lead in makeup, wine, and as food seasoning"—-

    Actually you can still get hair dyes that use lead acetate.

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