Bob Lutz: Warning Labels

"When I was CEO of Exide batteries," General Motors vice-chairman Bob Lutz once recalled, "we were suddenly confronted by this California law that said all car batteries have to carry a sticker that says, WARNING THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS LEAD, A SUBSTANCE KNOWN TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO CAUSE CANCER AND/OR REPRODUCTIVE HARM.

"Now, lead is an inert substance. It doesn't give off fumes or anything. I can't imagine anybody getting cancer from lead, and especially from the lead in a battery that's stowed away under the hood of a car. So I said, Let's add a supplementary label for California only that says, DO NOT PERMIT SMALL CHILDREN TO SUCK ON BATTERY POSTS."

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