do guitars cause cancer?

Do Guitars Cause Cancer?

If you you’ve recently purchased yourself a brand new guitar, it may have come with an alarming notice about how your new instrument could possibly give you cancer. 

And then you think to yourself, wow, what is this? Is playing guitar even worth it anymore if it could eventually cause me to get cancer? Do I need to wear a hazmat suit now just to practice playing my guitar? Or would a mask and gloves stop my guitar from giving me cancer?

That may sound really bazaar, but many people are actually wondering if in fact their beloved guitar could actually cause something as deadly as cancer. Well, in this article we talk about what that notice actually means and why you shouldn’t stop playing the guitar because of it.

The simple answer to this question is no, not really. Sometimes, guitars can be made with materials or chemicals that have had a history of causing cancer. But the truth is, most of these instances are brought on by a prolonged and abundant amount of exposure to the chemical or material in question.

The amounts of these chemicals or materials that may be on your guitar are very little at best. Casual or even heavy amounts of guitar practice are extremely unlikely to actually cause you cancer. 

If you eat food off of your guitar or weirdly lick your guitar constantly, then maybe you would have an issue with your guitar causing cancer. But, who the heck actually does that? And if you do, please talk to a licensed therapist. 

We could also go a step further and say that almost everything nowadays supposedly causes you to get cancer. Just look at the fine print on any instructions or other paperwork you get everytime you make a new purchase of anything that you buy brand new and you’ll see what I mean.

What Is Proposition 65?

Proposition 65 is a California law that was passed in 1986. And basically what it says is that all companies in the state of California are required to provide warnings to consumers and customers about chemicals that may cause cancer. 

If you don’t live in California, but you still got the notice, that’s common. The reason you are still getting this notice while living in a different state is because it is hard for guitar manufacturers to determine if a resident from California will get that particular guitar or other product.

This is because of e-commerce and cross-border sales. So for them, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential lawsuits. This is how the California manufacturers for most products are able to protect themselves. 

Don't Worry and Keep Playing

When it comes to the potential of getting cancer by simply playing your guitar, I would not worry too much. So many other things in this life are more likely to cause you to get cancer.

Smoking, paint, processed foods, too much sun; these things are way more likely to be the culprit if you do end up with the C word. Not because you decided to play guitar for a living, as a hobby or even if you hung it on the wall as a decoration. 

There was a study done back in 2007 by a couple of scientists that suggested that there was more of a potential for prostate cancer in electric guitar players because of the fact that the guitar is usually near your pelvic region when you’re playing. And the electronics in the guitar somehow could cause cancer.

It should be noted, however, that not much else was brought into the study. For example, did the guitarist smoke or do drugs? Did they practice in rooms where harmful chemicals might have been used in the room’s paint? Simply put, the study is too vague to actually determine whether or not you’ll get cancer when playing guitar.

If you’d like to read this study for yourself, you can find it here. But do note that I’ve covered the jist of it already. (It’s quite boring to read)

Final Thoughts

While both electric and acoustic guitars may have small amounts of chemicals or other materials that could cause you to get cancer, it is extremely unlikely that you will get a deadly disease from playing your guitar. 

In fact, I would be a lot more worried about other things that could cause cancer such as smoking, household sprays, and a huge list of other things that are more likely to cause the disease. So don’t be afraid of your guitar. It likely won’t kill you, but instead, give you years of enjoyment and fullfillment.

About Me

I love playing around with various types of guitar gear so I started this website to share my guitar gear knowledge with the world. Enjoy!

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