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Proposition 65 warning

This might look like I’m poking a stick in a hornet’s nest, but that’s 90% not my intention. (And the maybe 10% is not aimed at anyone).

Having bought some rose gold wire on the Rio website I went to order some rose gold solder too, only to see a page-long explanation of why they do not sell any, but suggest their 10K yellow gold solder instead.

So I receive it and it has a California proposition 65 warning label, “known by the state of California to cause cancer” due to some nickel in the solder.

That got me to check their white gold, presumably with nickel. No warning. I emailed a question asking why the solder has the warning and not the white gold, and more to the point, is the solder warning solely for my benefit as someone who might inhale fumes when soldering, or do I need to include that warning if I use that solder and sell an item online, possibly to a Californian. I didn’t get a reply so I don’t know.

Then my new Rio tools catalog arrived, and it is chock full of prop. 65 warnings. My impression is 1/3rd of the items, but I didn’t count. Maybe it is 20%, maybe 25… Swanstrom pliers get the warning, again for nickel. All kinds of other things.

I tried reading about this on the California website, but I gave up because of the volume of text and the legalese nature of some of it. My take is that for what they ‘know’ to cause cancer, there is no safe level. So what is the story with nickel white gold if Swanstrom pliers are ‘known by the state of California to cause cancer’? (And I’m not picking on Swanstrom. I’m citing that as what I consider an absurdity.)

As an aside, if you go to the Vermont Country Store website or get their catalog you will see that they do not sell their Australian black licorice to Californians. It seems molasses contains lead, 'known by the state of California…"

I can see 4 options if one does not live in California but might sell on the internet:

A. Include the prop. 65 warning if using the Rio 10K yellow solder (I still don’t know about white gold);

B. Do like the Vermont Country Store and refuse to ship to California;

C. Don’t use anything 'known by the state of California…", except that’s a really long list;

D. Ignore their law and hope to not get caught. (I’m not into that but it is an arguable option.)

Carbon is listed too. So why don’t charcoal blocks come with the warning? Or diamonds for that matter, since they all carbon? Are charcoal blocks safer than Swanstrom pliers?

Anyway, I’m going to send the solder in with my scrap, who needs the aggravation over a few inches of wire? But what is the story with white gold? A, B, C, or D?

BTW, Stuller sells plumb 14K cadmium-free rose gold solder, and it does work. ???

Neil A


Neil, I call it the dihydromonoxide mentality. Decades ago Dana Point CA out lawed in the city limits, dihydromonoxide. It was deemed the worst solvent known to man and a carcenigin. Not long after the city council voted in that city law a high school student attended a city council meeting. It was that youngster pointed out dihydro= two hydrogens, Mono = 1, oxide = oxygen. H2O. The city council in their fear of the full chemical name had banned water. California as a fearful political state, will put prop 65 on anything they hear a whisper about being sort of linked to cancer. I wonder when they will ban oxygen. It in and of itself is a poison. Yet we need it to live.

Another funny thing about California happened to me personally not long after 9-11. I was in a road parallel to I-80 going in to San Francisco on the Oakland side. I had set up my large format camera on a tripod to take a picture across the bay as the fog thinned. Didnt take long before a whole herd of police cars surrounded me with officers jumping out of the cars guns drawn. I rapidly fell to the ground spread eagle. Someone driving on the interstate had called in about a person with a small cannon and hand gun aiming at the interstate. After I was hauled into jail and my equipment torn apart, they let me go. Seems one of the senior officers was also a photographer.

California runs on fear. Learn about what you are using. Be smart in the handling. Most NOT ALL are going to be overblown. Education is a great tool.


Were the cops cool with you when they realized it was a Nikon?

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I have come to conclusion that the ultimate answer to all of the questions in the universe, especially in the US, is Lawyers and Insurance companies.
Jo- who after 50 years at the bench should be dead by now:-)

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Jo, you were saved by your Lindstroms, which are known by the state of California to be nickel-free. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Chris, I gave as good as they did. Think of an older woman turning the tables on those in authority. After it was deemed no harm and I could go, I said,“NO!” I refused to leave because I wanted to be fully booked so I could make the nightly news. I was polite but stubborn. After a couple of hours, I got profuse apologies, and repairs to my camera. I chuckled all the way home knowing they were not happy and some one was being yelled at for dragging me into their offices.

Dont do this unless you know you didnt break any laws. Always be polite, and then watch them squirm.


Hi Aggie;
Do you have any source you can point us to that confirms that story about Dana Point? I tried to find out more about it, but came up with nothing. There’s a lot of stuff that floats around the internet; some of it’s true, some is partly true, and a lot is just somebody’s idea of a good story. I did find something that might have been the origin of your version; it happened in Aliso Viejo, but didn’t get as far as a City Council debate; much less pass into law:

California’s Prop. 65 was a well-intentioned attempt to notify people about toxics in their environment, but since it had draconian penalties for not notifying people of potential harms, and no penalty for scaring them unnecessarily, everybody’s posting warnings about anything that could conceivably be harmful, with the result being that the warnings are everywhere but nobody pays them any mind.

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Agnes, that dihydromonoxide story sounded like an urban legend to me, so I checked and it is true that some overzealous paralegal read a spoof site and proposed banning it, but the error was discovered before the City Council took a vote. As far as Prop 65 substances, I think you can see it both ways. Before I read this thread, I spent part of my morning reading about microplastics in my food, and dangerous additives, including potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, nitrosamines and artificial colors, the last of which have finally been conclusively implicated in impulsive behavior in children, thirty-four years after this problem was first discovered. I think California has it right in alerting consumers and letting them decide for themselves. Often the issue is one of dosage…I use a little Roundup on occasion when I can’t think of any other easy alternative, but I do understand it can cause cancer when used regularly in large amounts, as some agricultural workers do. I do a little soldering a few times a week in a room about 15x25 and, aside from keeping my nose away from the torch flame, I don’t worry too much. As I solder more, I’ll certainly be sure that I’m not using fluorides in my fluxes and cadmium in my solders and will have a vent to the outside. In my experience, very few of the people who are poo-pooing the dangers of various chemicals have actually researched them and few seem to understand how research and statistics work. It’s about the same as the climate change deniers who seize on an unseasonably cold winter and say, “See, no global warming!”

I do pay attention to the warnings and research items that I’m considering buying. Sometimes I go ahead and purchase something, but other times I choose not to.

It depends on what the item is, what I’ll be using it for, and how often I’ll come in contact with it.

The eye-opener for me is just how many things have the warning.

And, yes, I voted for it and find its implementation useful, if disturbing.


I dont know about the news coverage of it, just my cousin who was on the city council telling us about it at Thanksgiving.

Here is another story which I dont have a link for that would reflect on us as Jewelers. Here in Florida a teenage boy beat one of the families poodles to death, and severely beat the other one while breaking up the house. He was upset at his parents. His excuse was his brain had toxins that had poisoned him from his jewelry making hobby. Supposedly his parents had even taken him to Georgia to see some sort of Doctor. That Doctor perscribed natural remedies to draw the toxins out of his brain. That all happened this past week in central Florida north of Orlando. Cant remember the exact town.

This kind of story is going to have people scrambling to flush jewelry making toxins out of their brains. The judge ordered a psych evaluation.

Roy John, there is plenty of good directed information to be had about any chemical. Look for the msds about it. Yes stats do play a huge part of the information gleaned. Sadly stats can misinform as well. Check the reference tables provided by the msds. Oft times you’ll see warnings that are blown out of proportion. Then you have valid irrefutable facts on a chemical such as Fluoride. It’s a poison. Yet we put it into water supplies. It causes thyroid problems and cancers. Yet it’s in so many products. What about California led the charge and still defends putting it in the water supply. California allows sugar to be added to milk to make it more palatable with out any warning on labels. How about in the bad old days of California, no antibiotic could be given to cows without quarantining them from the herd for 10 days. I know that one well. My father had 5 large dairies in Los Angeles, and Riverside counties.
On vacation when I was 10 an employee didnt separate a cow after giving it a shot. Every ounce of milk for 2 weeks had to be dumped (late 50’s) now even in California the cow is not separated and it’s perfectly fine even though some people have adverse reactions to certain antibiotics. Its education about what your using. Know ALLsides of the information. Today it’s too one sided instead of rationally evaluation everything. If you are not allergic to nickle dont fear the pliers. If you arent allergic to latex dont fear the contact. Besides the new organic latex mattresses we got for Christmas are the most wonderful nights sleep I’ve ever had. Why the mattress talk? It’s the chemicals used in processing latex that are the biggest problem, usually not the latex. Good to know some who have had reactions should know the substance.

I also think we need to clean up the environment for health reasons. I’m not a denier or in agreement with global warming. I want ALL facts not just those in agreement. I want to make up my own mind about that hot subject. Now that is said I will also be the first that this hot subject should not be the focus of a discussion here. About chemicals and are they dangerous yes. Finding non harmful alternatives for chemicals we used in the past, YES. Building good understanding not hate YES. Passing on our knowledge YES. Making beautiful jewelry…hell yes.


Hey, Aggie,
Reading what you’ve written, I don’t disagree with any of it…I think we are more or less on the same page. Just know your info and think clearly about it. I don’t have a problem, for example, with a California warning about nickel in an alloy…I have enough knowledge to know this doesn’t apply to me or my activities. And, yes, there are lots of bureaucrats who misuse and misinterpret regulations. Always enjoy your posts. Let’s carry on making jewelry!! -royjohn

Well not much to add here, but the rose solder from Stuller works just fine.