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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 January 2007, 11:54 GMT
'Wacky warnings' rewarded in US
Winner of "wackiest warning" label
The warning appears on coin-operated washing machines
A washing machine complete with a warning not to put anybody inside has been given an award for the "wackiest warning" by a US lobby group.

The Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch says the tendency of Americans to sue companies has gone too far, encouraging absurd warning labels on products.

But others say warning labels can play a role in protecting the public.

An engine manufacturer which warned "Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level" won second prize.

Excessive litigation

Warnings not to dry wet mobile phones in microwave ovens and not to iron lottery tickets tied for third place.

Honourable mentions went to a phonebook which advised: "Please do not use this directory while operating a moving vehicle".

The Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (M-Law) is campaigning to cut down on what it considers the harmful effects of excessive litigation in the United States.

The winning labels were selected by listeners of a Detroit radio station from a list compiled by M-Law.

The group began the Wacky Warning Labels contest 10 years ago as part of its campaign to have "common sense warnings on products", M-Law says on its website.

But a spokesperson from the washing machine maker whose label bagged top prize, said its warning is valid.

"A front loader (washing machine) is just at the right height - speaking now as a mother and not a corporate spokeswoman - for a four-year-old," said Patti Andresen Shew of Alliance Laundry Systems.

She said other companies had been sued after small children had climbed into washing machines which had then been started.

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