Thursday, January 6, 2005

Just How Dumb Are We?

From the AP:

Be careful where you put that rectal thermometer.

That admonition is one of the finalists in an anti-lawsuit group’s contest for the wackiest warning label of the year. The winner? A toilet brush that says, “Do not use for personal hygiene.”

The Wacky Warning Label Contest is in its eighth year.

The sponsor, Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, says the goal is “to reveal how lawsuits, and concern about lawsuits, have created a need for common sense warnings on products.”


A $250 second prize award went to Matt Johnson of Naperville, Ill. for a label on a children’s scooter that said, “This product moves when used.”

A $100 third prize went to Ann Marie Taylor of Camden, S.C., who submitted a warning from a digital thermometer that said, “Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally.”


The leader of a group that opposes the campaign to limit lawsuits admits some warning labels seem stupid but says even dumb warnings can do good.

“There are many cases of warning labels saving lives,” said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy in New York. “It’s much better to be very cautious … than to be afraid of being made fun of by a tort reform group.”

Oh, I don’t know…. You’re talking about a country where 51% of the voters fell for a product with a warning label: “I’m George W. Bush and I approved this message.”