California seems to have a law which requires businesses to inform potential customers about potential risks when using and/or consuming any of the company’s products, for a far better and deeper explanation see their government website about those proposition 65 warnings.
Why does this affect me? Or you?
Well I for instance was looking for ‘Ebonol‘ yesterday, which according to Wikipedia “is a synthetic material whose name derives from its similarity in appearance, hardness, and stability to ebony wood”. Wikipedia also say that “The material is particularly well suited for the fingerboards of fretless bass.”, and that it’s also used for clarinets. Some people claim it’s much harder than ebony, and also environment-friendly since you don’t have to use rare woods.
All fine and well. But when looking at the page of my fretless bass (which isn’t produced anymore, they’re now selling the last ones available), I came upon a warning:
WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm – www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.
Hmmm. First I thought: “Damn!”, and thought that it must be this Ebonol material. But as it turns out, Fender has this (almost) everywhere now:
Classic Vibe ’60s Jazz Bass® Fretless: – has it
Vintage Modified Jazz Bass® Fretless: – has it
American Professional Jazz Bass® Fretless (with definitely no Ebonol fingerboard, had this in my hands at Thomann lately, a really nice instrument): – has it
Player Jazz Bass® Fretless (Mexican): – does not have it
Jaco Pastorius Jazz Bass®: – has it
Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass®: – has it
I stopped there because I was only looking for fretless instruments, and I also haven’t checked other makers yet. That the Mexican Jazz Bass is the only one *without* that warning could also be an error of the page, it does not mean the product is better than American and/or Indonesian ones. But this should be further investigated, and I should probably also remove the “Play me!” sticker which I put onto my instrument last August during the Wikiloops members’ meeting.
I’ll write more as soon as I know more about this. Thanks for reading.
Edit, from short before work: for EU guidelines, see the German or English Wikipedia pages about RoHS. And the most prominent example from the Californian Proposition 65 list is the Bayer/Monsanto money maker Glyphosate, which is indeed highly toxic (and maybe Bayer’s biggest management error so far, or, like one of the shareholders put it: “I want to see a man who’s so dumb as to buy a poison-cooking company!”).