Southfield, MI: 1/17/01: A label on a toilet at a public sports facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan warning "Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking" has been identified as one of the nation's wackiest warning labels by a Michigan watchdog group. Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch sponsors the annual "Wacky Warning Label Contest" to reveal how lawsuits, and fear of lawsuits, have prompted warnings against even obvious misuses of products.

The winning labels were selected by listeners of the Ron Jolly show on the Michigan Talk Radio Network. The toilet water warning actually placed second to a label on a pair of shin guards made for bicyclists. That label warns: "Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover." Joe Schanderson of Grand Haven, Michigan, receives $500 and a copy of the book, "The Death of Common Sense," for his winning entry.

A Walla Walla, Washington resident discovered the third place winner on a jet ski. That label says: "Warning! Riders of personal watercraft may suffer injury due to the forceful injection of water into body cavities either by falling into the water or while mounting the craft." Honorable mention went to a Texan who found a label on an electric wood router made for carpenters which cautions: "This product not intended for use as a dental drill."

"Despite the obvious humor in the wacky warning labels, the purpose of this contest is not to make fun of those who put obvious warnings on products," said Robert B. Dorigo Jones, President of Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, M-LAW. "The contest was created to reveal that frivolous lawsuits have become such a problem in our society that many companies feel common sense warnings are necessary. When all judges become serious about throwing out frivolous lawsuits, we'll see fewer wacky labels."

M-LAW is a non-partisan coalition of consumers, professionals, job providers, and others working to stop the lawsuit "lottery" being played in the nation's courts. M-LAW's supporters believe all victims have a right to due process of law but are concerned that a growing number of frivolous lawsuits are making a mockery of personal responsibility and piling costs on consumers.

Photos of this year's winning labels

Past Winners of M-LAW's Wacky Warning Label Contest

Enter M-LAW's Fifth Annual Wacky Warning Label Contest

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