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Warning Your Chrome Doo-Dads, Seats, and Performance Parts Cause Cancer

Warning: Your Chrome Doo-Dads, Seats, and Performance Parts Cause Cancer

California aims to be an idealized state. Sometimes a little too much, in the opinion of some motorcyclists.

The state has some of the harshest emissions requirements and rules on what aftermarket performance can and cannot be sold or used on the roads. If you’re wondering what is allowed, your answer is mostly nothing.

Mostly nothing, except for maybe adding some subjectively cool chrome doo-dads, and maybe an aftermarket seat. Surely there’s no harm in that, right? Wrong!

Starting in the fall of 2018 you may have noticed a little blurb on the websites of some of your favorite motorcycle manufacturers are adding a scary little blurb to their product pages:



That’s right. Your chrome foot pegs could kill you, man. But that’s actually nothing new. This has been the case for years. So why are we only reading about this and seeing these labels now?

Introducing Proposition 65

Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These chemicals can be in the products that Californians purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. By requiring that this information be provided, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals.

Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water.

Proposition 65 requires California to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 900 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.

Proposition 65 isn’t actually a new-age nanny-state thing. It first became law in 1986, and voters approved it with 63% to 37% margin. We’re not sure why the motorcycle aftermarket is only being touched now, but it comes down to one of two potential reasons:

1. These manufacturers have only been assessed recently and therefor needed to become compliant, or 2. As the list of chemicals increases, one of the chemicals used by the motorcycle manufacturers only became included recently.

The latter is more likely, but in any event, we have to wonder if motorcyclists will notice the warnings, and whether or not they’ll even care.

Edit: It’s interesting to note that Amazon vendors selling Kuryakyn and Mustang seats don’t seem to be following the rules. Naughty naughty. I like that.

COMMENTS: Do these warning labels change your opinion on the manufacturers?
Are you less likely to purchase chrome, performance, or comfort accessories with these labels?


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About Adrian from YouMotorcycle

I started riding motorcycles in 2007, founded YouMotorcycle in 2009, and was working in the motorcycle industry by 2011. I've worked for some of the biggest companies in motorcycling, before going full-time self-employed in the motorcycle business in 2019. I love sharing his knowledge and passion of motorcycling with other riders to help you as best I can.


  1. OK, so this is certainly a new thing to me, but to be honest, just about EVERYTHING we like seems to carry some kind of health warning these days! Here in the UK, we have grown quite used to the “Health and Safety” mentality. If we took everything we are told literally, we wouldn’t leave the safety of our homes let alone ride! So chrome might cause cancer eh? Errm, what about the very emissions that occur every time you start your beloved motorcycle then?! Or those of the cars you encounter as you ride? Or that tin of paint you opened last week? Then there is the packaging your food is wrapped in too! Hell I don’t smoke but other people’s smoke could give me cancer! I think the key word here is “could”. All things are possible, but not all things are probable. As I do not intend to spend ANY time licking my chrome footpegs or nibbling my handlebars, I don’t think it PROBABLE that the chrome on my Harley will be the death of me somehow! NONE of us KNOW how or when we will meet our end, so in the meantime, One life: LIVE IT! (And DON’T suck your chrome!).

  2. It’s the same in every industry. I don’t think motorcyclists are being singled out. I also think that unless you ingest these materials or ride bareback, your risk has to be pretty minimal. Riding is a risky hobby to begin with. I doubt this will stop anyone from riding, but will protect manufacturers from law suits.

  3. Christopher Liggett

    The risk of these products is primarily to the manufacturers and assemblers of the items. In other words, the poor minimum-wage folks who make these things for your enjoyment. So go ahead and purchase, because it really won’t be you who suffers the consequences.

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