Lead as you know is toxic to children (and adults for that matter), so it’s important that the place their lunch is stored in is lead-free. PVC is toxic as it contains phthalates and lead. Lead can also be ingested from your child touching the bag and then their food. And BPA is the hormone disrupting chemical found in plastics whose toxic effects have been hitting the news and blogs for the last several years.
Before purchasing a lunch box for your child, read the label. Make sure it is not made of PVC. Nylon, polypropelyne or cloth are much safer materials. Look for tags that say PVC-free. You also want to avoid BPA if you are purchasing a water bottle or food storage containers.
Here is a list of BPA, PVC and lead free lunch boxes.
The Cool Tote is a replacement for the traditional brown bag. It’s made of nylon thus lead and other toxin-free.
Crocodile Creek. These are SO CUTE, and my favorite of the bunch. I saw these at Whole Foods and they are very well-made and have very cute traditional style, zippered lunch box and kid-friendly designs like dinosaurs, the solar system, horses (purple for girls) , trucks/vehicles (boyish), girls from around the world, flowers, countries with animals, farm animals and a sunflower.
Laptop lunches are good for those who don’t like their food to touch. There are little compartments for separating food.
LL Bean has a critter lunch box line that is really cute and lead and PVC-free. They would be great for a tween who wants something stylish without licensed characters.
The Lunch Pak by Fleurville is a backpack design, but does have a handle to carry like a traditional lunch box. They also offer a lunch buddy which is more of a traditional lunch box style.
Mimi the Sardine has cute cloth lunch totes that are PVC and lead free. There are several designs such as the ladybug, monkey/elephant/flower pattern, bugs and mice (my favorite).
Munchlers look like zoo animals and they fold out into a placemat, also very cute. They are insulated and come in several designs including a yellow tiger, white dog, green bunny and pink panda. My daughter has the white dog.
ZAK Designs offers several licensed character insulated lunch boxes that are lead free and lined with PVC-free material. Note, they just mention “PVC-free lining” so leads me to believe the entire lunch box may not be PVC-free. Some of the characters available include: iron man, Wall-E, The Little Mermaid, Tinkerbell, Spongebob Square Pants, Diego, Spiderman and many others. Wal-Mart and Target carry Zak lunch boxes.
California Innovations is a nice lunch bag that Wal-Mart carries. It’s stylish no-nonesense bag and free from any characters or crazy prints.
Lunchopolis is another zippered, traditional style, no-nonesense lunch box.
Citizens Pip is a new one available only online from what I can tell. The cool thing is you can customize your lunch box with accessories — separate food compartments, stainless steel bottle, cloth napkins, fork/spoon set, and of course the lunch bos itself!
Kid Konserve is a similar to Citizens Pip’s customizable lunch box system and available on their website.
Thermapod is another similar concept to the laptop lunch. However, it is one piece with 4 sections, which may not be desireable for some.
ReusableBags.comhas a whole section also dedicated to lead, PVC, and BPA-free lunches. I bought two ACME lunch bags — one to carry bottles in for my son to daycare (it fits three Dr. Brown bottles) and one for me for the milk I pump for him at work (it fits six medela bottles).
17 thoughts on “BPA, PVC and lead free lunch boxes for back to school”
Just spoke to Crocodile Creek and their lunchboxes are not lead free on the outside only the inside liner. Children can be contaminated with lead by touching the outside of the lunchbox and then consuming their food.
Yes we must be carefull about that…
So many great choices! The Kids Konserve products are nice because you can buy the items a la carte. You don’t have to buy the whole kit if you don’t need it. The stainless steel containers are great!
hi do you know if Shinzi Katoh bento boxes and water bottles are BPA free?
amy, yes, Bento Boxes are BPA free! 🙂
FYI – I just called LL Bean and they said that the critter boxes are PVC free and “meet or exceed requirements” for lead – hence are not lead free.
And yet another lunch box choice! Here’s a very wallet friendly and ‘green’ way to pack yummy meals to go: Check out our brand new EasyLunchbox System – the most affordable and fast way to pack a lunchbox. Compartmentalized containers and carrying bags that are great for school or work! Sandwiches fit perfectly, and there are only two pieces to the 3-sectioned container which can hold a wide variety of foods – an easy way to Bento! No more lost or mismatched pieces. Fits inside a roomy, lead free cooler bag that can also hold an ice block, drink, whole fruit and more.
No BPA, Vinyl, Phthalates, PVC, or lead. FDA approved safe for food. Microwave and dishwasher safe.
Very affordable and ‘green’ – lunch packing has never been easier!
We even have an awesome school fundraising program!
The Easylunchbox System has been rated
TOP CHOICE by Lunch Box Reviews! http://bit.ly/8uTvNV
unfortunately, as your website confirms, these hard plastic containers only last for several months before they need to be replaced.
I have had my easylunchboxes for over a year. To work M-F. They rock!
How long do these eco-friendly plastics remain safe. It seems like using daily and dishwashing nightly might deteriorate the plastics. Can you offer any information on this? Thanks!
Any plastic container should be tossed/recycled when it shows signs of wear – scratches, misshaped, etc. I don’t know that there is general shelf life.
I know most car seats do have an expiration date.
Thanks for the heads up! Love the content of your site, added it to our blogroll at http://epochbydesign.com/blog 🙂
Trisha, your heart is in the right place with this post, but it is so dangerous.
You list several products as lead-free when they actually are only “lead-safe” – which means they contain lead, just not enough to exceed the manufacturers standards – and it’s those standards that are in question and have caused such outrage.
Please adjust this post or make a new one . I found this post by doing a Google search for lead-free lunchboxes.
Thanks for your comment Larry. This post is a few years old and I am updating for this year. Last year, there were a few articles out there stating some companies were in fact calling themselves “lead-free” because the amount of lead was “undetectible” as one company stated to me. Thanks again and hope you check back for the updated article.