Warning label worries East Tennessee woman about dangerous chemi

Warning label worries East Tennessee woman about dangerous chemicals from refrigerator

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Proposition 65 is California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Proposition 65 is California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
"I'm not saying it is a bad refrigerator, but I want to be sure that the water coming out of there and ice coming out of there is good for my family," Velda said. "I'm not saying it is a bad refrigerator, but I want to be sure that the water coming out of there and ice coming out of there is good for my family," Velda said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A warning label about potentially harmful chemicals slapped onto a brand new refrigerator caught the attention of an East Tennessee woman.

When Velda bought the energy efficient Samsung refrigerator in late July, she was unaware of the warning that appeared in the user manual.

"On page four, I saw the State of California Proposition 65 warning," Velda said.

Proposition 65 is California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.

The manual that came with the refrigerator says the appliance can cause low-level exposure to chemicals listed in the act.

"That tells me that this product is known to have chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects, etc.," Velda said.

Velda is a retired nurse who holds a Ph.D in public administration.

"I am 85-years-old," Velda said. "I have had many refrigerators, grew up with the old wooden box ones, to the present time. I have had refrigerators of all kinds, and I have never had one with a warning like this. That is the shock that I had."

What also surprised her is that no one alerted her about the warning when she bought the refrigerator.

"I'm not saying it is a bad refrigerator, but I want to be sure that the water coming out of there and ice coming out of there is good for my family," Velda said.

At Oak Ridge National Lab, Greg Zimmerman and Cheryl Bast are two leading environmental scientists who analyze health risks.

"One of the purposes of the law was to educate the public to make them aware of the potential risk," Zimmerman said.

We took the manual to the scientists and pointed out the warning label.

"From a consumer protection standpoint, Proposition 65 requires a warning label to be put on any product that is sold in California that may contain one of about 800 listed items," Zimmerman said.

The scientists say the chemicals listed in the Samsung's owner manual are byproducts of plastic.

A look inside the refrigerator reveals what appears to be a generous use of plastic, but could the listed chemicals be harmful?

The experts say no.

"The amount of chemicals you would be exposed to from routine use of this refrigerator in your home would not concern me," Bast said.

6 On Your Side contacted Samsung and asked about the warning label on the refrigerator. A spokesman responded saying that "we assure our customers that our refrigerators are safe."

The statement goes on to say that the Prop 65 statement included in the manual of certain refrigerator models is listed only as a precautionary measure, and that since the refrigerator is sold nationwide, to assure compliance with the proposition, many manufacturers will include the warning label on their products.

Velda has since traded for a different refrigerator.

Scientists say many of chemicals listed under Proposition 65 have been routinely used in everyday consumer items for years without any documented harm.


You can see Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports every Monday and Wednesday on 6 News at 5:00.

If you have a consumer question send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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