Posts Tagged ‘Lead’

Lead and Phthalate-free Toys for Christmas

View update here.

Last updated: September 29, 2008

Because Christmas is right around the corner and the new bill protecting children from lead and phthalates will not go into effect until February 20, 2009, I am taking it upon myself to search for safe toys for Christmas 2008.

Here is the list I have come up with and will continue to add to it as I find new toys that meet the standards of being lead and phthalate free. If a toy has any of these toxins, I will not list them. I also did my best to steer clear of anything that contains BPA. Please note there are millions and millions of toys out there, so this is in no way a comprehensive list. If you are aware of another toy that is free of ALL lead, phthalates and BPA, please comment (along with a website or other evidence you may have if available) and I will add it to the list. Also, I will not list the obvious, like stuffed animals or books, but will do my best to include the obvious categories.

Also, some companies do have toys made with phthalate-free PVC. I have listed these and made a note by those toys. Although it would be great to avoid PVC altogether, as PVC can contain lead. 

Most of the products are linked so you can read reviews, get more information and even purchase online.

Brands who are promising that all their toys are lead and phthalate free:
Edushape
Haba
Kids Give
Lamaze Baby Toys
Lego Systems 
Little Tykes 
Lisa LeLeu 
Melissa & Doug (wood and plush toys) 
Mudpuppy 
Plan Toys 
Publications International 
Sckoon 
Step 2 
Tiny Love 
Under the Nile  

Art supplies/Crafts
(note: many art supplies, including Play Doh, contain trace amounts of arsenic. I did not list these products in the list. Unfortunately, it makes for a shorter list)
Melissa and Doug Deluxe Easel
Melissa and Doug Paints
KidKraft Deluxe Easel

Blocks
Mega Blocks
Legos   (all systems including Duplo)
Edushape (They had these at my daughter’s daycare and they are great! They are flexible so perfect for toddlers just learning to play with connecting type blocks.)
Kapla Wood Building Set

Dolls
Babipouce Grenadine – 12″ Cloth Doll by Corolle 
Tidoo Bright Doll, bath doll that really floats! by Corolle (my daughter is getting this for C-mas — this doll is BEAUTIFUL)
All Dolls by Corolle, including Tidoo, Calin, Chouquette Eva, and Poupette Lili  These dolls are all just BEAUTIFUL
Sandwich Striped Cat Doll by Blabla

Games
Hasbro Bamboo Matching game (I saw at Wal-Mart, but cannot find online anywhere. It’s cute though.)

Kitchen Sets
Guidecraft Deluxe Kitchen 
Guidecraft Wooden Kitchen
Plan Toys Kitchen Center
Plan Toys Kitchen Set
Pink stove top by Plan Toys and Red stove top
Dishwasher
by Plan Toys
Refrigerator
by Plan Toys
Melissa and Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen


Musical Instruments
Pine wood train whistle, maple and Marks
Hohner harmonica, Rosie’s Hippo
Melissa and Doug Band in a Box

Push/Pull Toys
Bird Family Pull Toy, Rosie’s Hippo
Trotto Wooden Push Toy by Selecta
Mini Pull along Giraffe by Sevi

Play Food/Cookware
Alex Toys Deluxe Cooking Set
Bambu Kids Cooking Utensils
Erzi play food: Erzi Assorted Vegetables Box; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box; Erzi Assorted VegetablesErzi Assorted Fruit; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box Tropical FruitsErzi Assorted Tropical Fruits 
Learning Resources – Made of PVC and polyethylene, but is lead and phthalate free
Lunch With Friends” wood tea party set by Djeco
Melissa and Doug: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Play Food – 10 Piece Set; Melissa & Doug Sandwich making set; Melissa and Doug Deluxe Wooden Spice Rack Set; Melissa and Doug Cutting Food Box
Melissa and Doug Food Groups; Melissa and Doug Pizza Party; Melissa and Doug Birthday Cake; Sushi 
Plan Toys: Fruit and Vegetables, Breakfast Menu (with tray), Birthday Cake with candles, Vegetable pairs 
Plan Toys Toaster
Plan Toys Microwave
Shopping cart by Plan Toys
Cookware set by Plan Toys
Tableware set by Plan Toys
Tupperware Childs Kids Mini Baking Set
Tupperware Kids Cake Taker, Plates, & Spatula
Tupperware Kids Mini Party Set with Mini Cake Taker

Playmat (Infant Activity Mat)
Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe – Lights & Music  

Pretend Play (castles, playhouses, dollhouses, etc.)
Dragonstone Castle With Inhabitants  by Haba
Neat & Tidy Cottage by Step2 (my daughter LOVES this house)
Plan Toys Country Barn
Plan Toys Wood barn
Plan Toys Chalet Dollhouse with furniture
Plan Toys My First Dollhouse
Plan City Parking Garage
Plan Terrace Dollhouse
Plan Toys Contemporary Dollhouse
Plan Toys Victorian Dollhouse (I want this one!)
Plan Toys Modern Dollhouse
Colonial Dollhouse by Plan Toys
Dollhouse furniture by Plan Toys
Princess Castle by Melissa and Doug
Folding Midevil Castle by Melissa and Doug 
Dolls for Melissa and Doug Play Castles

Puzzles
Clutching Puzzle Sunny Land by haba 
Melissa & Doug wood sound puzzles

Riding Toys
Arabian Rocking Horse by Plan Toys 
Pony rocking horse by Plan Toys
Sports Car by Plan Toys (this is super cute!)
Trike Rider by Brio

Sports/Interactive
Wooden Bowling Set by Sevi 
Ball Track Roll ‘N Roll ‘N Roll by Haba  

Stacking Toys
Witty Worm Stacker, Rosie’s Hippo
Wooden Rainbow Stacking Tower, Nunoorganic
Rocky Color Cone, Holgate Toys 

Teethers for Baby
Please see my post here: BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

Trains, Vehicles and other accessories
Alex Activity Mat
Brio
Maple and Marks
Melissa and Doug 
Plan Toys
Super City Wooden Railways from Heros! 

Companies with no phthalates (PVC) – Note: I have not yet determined if they are making the same claim for being lead-free. Also note that not all Evenflo, Gerber or Sassy products are BPA free.
Brio 
Chicco 
Evenflo 
Gerber 
International Playthings
Sassy 

Watch for these companies:
Leap Frog (Phthalate-free; some toys contain PVC; most packaging in boxes) 
Manhattan Toy (Use phthalate-free PVC)
Vtech (Use phthalate-free PVC) 
Sassy (Use phthalate-free PVC (since 2000), working to eliminate BPA and eventually, PVC) 
Fisher Price (Frequently use PVC (including teething rings), only toys for kids under age 3 are phthalate-free)
Mattel (Frequently use PVC) 
Playskool (Frequently use PVC)
Baby Einstein /Disney /Kids II (Frequently use PVC)
KidKraft (Claims all painted toys will have some amount of lead, anything wood is fine)
Especially for Baby @ Babies R Us (Geoffrey Inc.) (Frequently use PVC, including teething rings)

Gaming Consoles
XBox and Playstation 3 contain high levels of phthalates, though they are NOT considered toys so will not be affected by the new law banning phthalates in children’s products. Read more about it here.

Another cool site with eco-friendly toys is http://www.euphoriababy.com/

Please check back as I will be updating this post until Christmas is here! Happy shopping!

For more information or to research specific toys not listed, visit these sites:
http://www.healthytoys.org/product.searchtype.php
http://toyportfolio.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/update-complying-companies/
 
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Have we found the cause of SIDS?
Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
FDA: Lead found in vitamins
Lead in the garden hose
Lead in Christmas lights

FDA: Vitamins contain lead

The FDA did an analysis of the lead content of 324 different vitamins. Shockingly, very few were lead-free. 5 of the samples studied exceeded the level the FDA considers “safe, ” though none of these were for children or pregnant or lactating women. Just when I thought we were making progress finally banning lead in toys (even though this was really a no-brainer and should not need a law banning it), now we have lead in vitamins.

Although all of the vitamins for those in the high-risk category (children, and pregnant and lactating women) were below the daily levels the FDA considers “safe,“ I have to question if any amount of lead is really safe. Not to mention it’s very likely we are exposed to lead in other ways in our daily lives and may not truly know where we are being exposed. Best bet is to avoid anything known to contain any amounts of lead. We just ditched our old cast-iron bathtub because it very likely contained lead. Lead is also common in PVC-made products, garden hoses, some clothing, paint, lunch boxes/backpacks/diaper bags, etc., older porcelin/cast iron tubs and sinks, plus many other places. And it’s still in some toys (and the government “ban” will still allow for very small traces of lead — it is NOT a zero-tolerance deal).

Lead ends up in the vitamins because it naturally occurs in the environment, however, that does not mean I want to find it in a vitamin, especially one I give my child. This comes at a good time actually, as I was about to look into a good vitamin for my toddler.

Here is the study summary and results of each vitamin studied. These seem to be all over the counter varieties, so my prenatal was not listed unfortunately.

Below I have listed the top 10 vitamins with the most and least amount of lead. Here’s my disclaimer before you purchase any – still review the labels for other ingredients!! Some may still contain preservatives and other ingredients you may elect to avoid (ie parabens, sugars, etc.) I did not account for that in these lists – just the lead content.

Infants and Young Children (Age 0-6 years)
There are 3 vitamins for infants and young children that had non-detectible lead levels. These are:

1. TwinLab Infant Care Multi Vitamins
2. NF Formulas Liquid Pediatric
3. Natrol Liquid Kids Companion

And rounding out the top 10 in this category for the LEAST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
4. Kids Liquid Dolphin Pals
5. Windmill Bite-A-Mins
6. My First Flintstones
7. Natural Wealth Children’s Chewable Multivitamins Plus Extra C
8. Uno Diario Ninos
9. Flintstones Plus Immunity Support
10. Natural Wealth Children’s Chewable Multivitamins

The top 10 with the MOST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
1. Dynamic Health Multi for Children
2. Clinicians Choice Chewable Daily Multivitamins
3. Wonder Laboratories Formula Nineteen
4. Vita-Big-Kids
5. Nature’s Plus Animal Parade
6. Ola Loa Kids
7. Physio Kids Multilogics Chewable
8. Nutraceutical Pedia Power
9. Superior Multi Age
10. Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Shake

Older Children and Teens (7+ years)
The top 10 with the LEAST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
1. Lil Critters Drop Zone for Teens
2. Nutrition Now Zow for Teens
3. Michael’s For Pre-Teen Boys
4. Michael’s Teen Boys
5. Puritan’s Pride Mega Vita Min For Teens
6. Michael’s Pre-Teen Girls
7. Michael’s Teen Girls
8. Good ‘N Natural Ultra Teen
9. Futurebiotics Derma Teen
10. GNC Mega Teen

The top 10 with the MOST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
1. Vitanica Women’s Symetry
2. Esteem Total Teen
3. FoodScience Teen’s Superior
4. Nature’s Plus Source of Life Power Teen
5. Rainbow Light Active Health TEEN
6. Maxi Teen Supreme
7. Doctor’s Choice For Male Teens
8. Clinical Nutrients For Male Teens
9. Clinical Nutrients for Female Teens
10. Kal Enhanced Energy Teen Complete

For Pregnant and Lactating Women
The 10 with the LEAST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
1. After Baby Boost 2
2. Nature’s Sunshine Nature’s Prenatal
3. Nature’s Plus Prenatal Liquid
4. Natrol PreNatal Care
5. Pregnancy Plus
6. Pure Encapsulations PreNatal Nutrients
7. Maxi Health One Prenatal
8. Nature’s Bounty Prenatal
9. Stuart Prenatal
10. Natural Wealth Prenatal

The 10 with the MOST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
1. Carol Bond Women’s Choice Prenatal
2. Daily Foods Baby & Me
3. Life Time Professional Pre-Natal Formula
4. DaVinci Laboratories Ultimate Prenatal
5. Buried Treasure Prenatal Plus DHA Complete
6. Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System
7. Prenatal Superior
8. Vitamin Source Prenatal Complete
9. A to Z Naturals Wow! PreNatal
10. After Baby Boost 1

For Adult Women
The 10 with the LEAST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
1. FemOne
2. Viactiv Multivitamin Milk Chocolate
3. Family Value Multivitamin/Multimineral for Woman
4. MotherNature.com Women’s Basic Multi
5. Kirkman EveryDay
6. Vitabase Woman’s Multi (liquid)
7. Food Force Women’s Force
8. 21st Century One Daily Women’s
9. NewChapter Organics Every Woman’s One Daily
10. Viactiv Flavor Glides

The 10 with the MOST amount of lead by daily exposure are:
1. GenSpec VF-3 para Mujeres Hispanas
2. Women’s Superior
3. DaVinci Laboratories Spectra Woman
4. Garden of Life Living Multi
5. For Women Only
6. GenSpec VF-1 for African American Females
7. Garden of Life Living Multi Optimal
8. Esteem Total Woman
9. Super Nutrition Women’s Blend
10. NutriBiotic Ultimate Matrix

Related Articles
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Dangers of BPA, phthalates and a host of other substances
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Lead in Christmas lights
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

Toxins found in crib mattresses may cause health problems

Government says no more lead in toys — but not until after the holiday season

All children’s products must be compliant with the new govermental standards for lead content by Feb 10, 2009, so a little late for safe and confident Christmas shopping.

This means companies can still seel their lead-containing toys until Feb 10, but they must be removed from the shelves in the US after that. Now, I wonder who will monitor that? Honor system? We know how well that worked…

Anyway, what many may not know about the law is this:

The new lead limit is part of a sweeping product safety measure that became law Aug. 14. The law stipulates that by Feb. 10, children’s products can not have a total lead content above 600 parts per million. Six months later, that limit drops to 300 ppm and then to 100 ppm in three years if feasible.

So this year, buy with caution. Read the entire article here from the Washington Post.

Please check back for more on this topic and where to find safe toys this Christmas season.

Related Articles
Lead and phthalate free toys for Christmas
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BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

Lead and PVC free lunch boxes
Toxins found in crib mattresses may cause health problems

PVC and Lead-Free lunch boxes for back-to-school

Updated post found here.

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. Lead can also be ingested from your child touching the bag and then their food. For a list of manufacturers who have agreed to produce lead-safe lunch boxes, check out the CEH’s website.

PVC is toxic as it contains phthalates and lead. The Center for Health, Environment and Justice offers a downloadable guide to PVC-free school supplies.

Safe Mama has a great review/listing of lead and PVC-free lunch boxes for back to school (or even for work!) Here are the ones she mentions, plus some others that I found:

The Cool Tote is a replacement for the traditional brown bag. It’s made of nylon thus lead and other toxin-free. They offer over 50 designs, so you are bound to find something you like. They also claim the product will last for years, which is also a good thing!

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 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. All are PVC, lead and phthalate free. These are a soft lunch box, they have a mesh pocket in back, a zipper pocket in front and the main compartment is insulated. And as mentioned, these look very durable. I want one for myself!

Laptop lunches are good for those who don’t like their food to touch. There are little compartments for separating food. The containers are made of polypropylene (#5) so are BPA-free and they each have lids made of polyethylene (#2). The set also includes a stainless fork and spoon with plastic handles.

LL Bean has a critter lunch box line that is really cute and lead and PVC-free. They have designs with a butterfly, a gecko, panda and several others. They would be great for a tween who wants something stylish without licensed characters.

The Lunch Pak by Fleurville is PVC-free but NOT 100% lead-free, but does exceed California standards for lead and other toxins, so are “considered” lead-free according to the company. It is also a backpack design, but does have a handle to carry like a traditional lunch box. Since it’s not completely lead-free, I probably would not buy it. 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 made of polypropylene. There are several designs including a yellow tiger, white dog, green bunny and pink panda. They also have a wearable tote, but it fits like a backpack, so not sure how this would work if your child is already carrying a backpack.

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. I am emailing the company though. Some of the characters available include: iron man, Wall-E, The Little Mermaid, Tinkerbell, Spongebob Square Pants, Diego, Spiderman and many others.

Here is another list I found of PVC-free lunch bags, though I do not know if they are lead-free.

The site also offers 6 tips for a healthier and safer lunch tote:
• Check for “lead safe,” or even better, “lead free” labels.
• Check for “PVC-free,” “Vinyl-free” or “phthalates-free” labels
• If you find none of the above, avoid soft vinyl bags and avoid bags with additional chemicals such as anti-bacterial claims (Microban is one of them), this includes statements like “keeps food fresh longer.”
• If your chosen bag offers no labels, store or wrap all your child’s food individually to avoid contact with the interior lining. Remind your kids to wash their hands before and after lunch.
• To reduce waste, choose re-usable containers and use your own silverware and napkins.
• Don’t refill disposable water bottles. The best choices are stainless steel reusable water bottles.

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President Bush signs product safety bill to protect children

Yeah! Yesterday Bush signed a bill into law that would ban lead and phthalates from products aimed at children under the age of 12. This includes toys, clothes, bath products, etc.

The major provisions of the bill are:
• Increase funding for CPSC over five years — starting at $118 million in fiscal 2010, and ending at $136 million. For fiscal 2008, CPSC received $80 million
• Create whistleblower protections for employees of manufacturers, private labelers, retailers and distributors
• Require third-party testing of certain children’s products
• Authorize CPSC to inspect manufacturers’ proprietary laboratories
• Require CPSC to make new safety rules for toys
• Create a public database for consumer complaints
• Ban children’s toys or child care articles containing more than a trace amount of certain phthalates, and ban other phthalates on an interim basis pending a review
• Ban lead beyond a minute amount in products for children under 12

The number of toy recalls has been astounding and it’s great to see Congress finally take action.

I look forward to the day when I can also buy shampoo for my daughter without having to scrutinize and read between the lines on the product labels. While banning phthalates is a big step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go in this department — parabens and dioxanes anyone? Yeah, me neither.

But for today, great job Mr. President! I hope to see more like this from Congress to help protect Americans from other harmful substances.

Related Articles
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Lead found in candy

Health Officials Warn About Lead Levels in Mexican, Malaysian Candy

San Jose Mercury News
Lisa Fernandez
August 06, 2008
Health officials sent out a warning Tuesday about two types of candy from Mexico and Malaysia that are laced with lead and could cause severe medical problems.

The culprits are: Huevines Confitados Sabor chocolate imported from Mexico and Ego Hao Jin Bang candy imported from Malaysia.

Tests conducted by the California Department of Public Health found levels of lead that could cause health problems, and officials say consumers should simply throw away the candy.

Recent analysis of this candy determined that the Mexican chocolates contained as much as 0.20 parts per million of lead, and the Malaysian candy contained as much as 0.73 ppm of lead. California considers candies with lead levels in excess of 0.10 ppm to be contaminated, according to a statement put out by the health department.

Lead is especially harmful to babies, young children and developing fetuses, and can result in learning disabilities and behavioral disorders that could last a lifetime. Pregnant women and parents of children who may have consumed this candy should consult their health care provider to determine if medical testing is needed.

Huevines Confitados Sabor chocolate is manufactured by Confitados Finos Del Bosque in Mexico. It’s egg-shaped and has a hard white coating with brown speckles surrounding a chocolate interior.

The candy is approximately one inch long and comes packaged in a clear plastic bag containing 250 pieces. The bag shows a bird sitting inside a broken eggshell on the front of the package. The word “Huevines” is written in large white letters on the front of the package and “confitados sabor chocolate” in brown letters.

Ego Hao Jin Bang, manufactured by Kee Wee Hup Kee Food Manufacture in Malaysia, is a brown-colored candy wrapped in purple-reddish foil with silver ends. Approximately 45 of the foil-wrapped candies are packed into a clear plastic 4.2-ounce bag with the word EGO in pink letters in the top left corner.

Lead in the Garden Hose

Don’t drink from the hose!! Of course, who didn’t do this as a kid? Who has not run through the sprinkler? Well, as it turns out, the entire time, we were being exposed to lead. Not until recently was it made public that lead is a staple in garden hoses. Look at the package of virtually any hose and you will see a warning stating something like “NOT INTENDED FOR DRINKING WATER” or “DO NOT DRINK FROM HOSE.” Other warnings include “wash hands after use” and some recommend wearing gloves while handling the hose.

ABC and Consumer Reports did a test on 10 different hoses and found levels of lead 10 to 100 greater than the allowable EPA standards. Lead as you likely know, is extemely dangerous and can lead to irreversible brain damage and other health issues.

That makes me want to run out and play with the hose, water my garden, run through the sprinkler and take a long cold drink of water from it.

Our children are most vulnerable since they are so small and are more affected as many toys they gum, the tubs they bath in, etc. may also contain trace or excessive amounts of lead.

The good news is, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your children.
1. Avoid brass fittings. They can also leach lead into the water.
2. Read the package before you buy. If it says “do not drink” then do not buy.
3. If you do have a hose tainted with lead, take care in its use. Do not use it to drink from, fill the pool or water plants that will be a food source or plants near a food source.
4. Keep the hose away from the reach of children.
5. Store the hose in a cooler place (apparently leaving in the sun makes the leaching worse).
6. Flush the hose before each use.
7. Buy a drinking water safe hose. They are surprisingly not much more expensive than traditional hoses, I am talking a few dollars in most cases. Look for hoses for marine and camper use. 

Drinking Water Safe Hoses
EZ-Coil-n-Store Drinking Water Hose

RV Drinking Water Hose – 50′

Gilmour 12 Series 5 Ply Marine & Recreation Hose, 5/8 Inch x 75 Feet

Apex NeverKink Boat and Camper 2000 1/2-Inch-by-50-Foot Hose

News articles 
ABC News

Consumer Reports

Congress Passes Ban on Phthalates

Recently, Congress voted to pass the Children’s Safe Product Act of 2008 which would ban phthalates, lead and cadmium from products targeted to children under 12.

Phthalates are used in children’s toys to give them their flexibility, as well as in many body care products (usually identified if the product contains “fragrance” as an ingredient. Phthalates are believed to cause early puberty in girls, premature delivery, impaired sperm quality and sperm damage in men, genital defects and reduced testosterone production in boys, genital defects and testicular cancer.

Lead, as everyone knows, is toxic and can lead to irreversible brain damage, particularly in small children. When the act takes effect, all toys will be required to go through lead testing BEFORE they hit retailers shelves (what a revolutionary idea). This falls under my “no duh” category, but grateful congress is finally seeing the light and taking steps to protect the most vulnerable consumers – our children.

While this is nothing short of great news, unfortunately, this will not be in time for parents to feel secure in buying safe products for Christmas, as the act will not take effect for 6 months. I also understand retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target will stop selling such products as of January 2009.

However, the act is certainly a good thing and a step in the right direction. From what I gather, the act is also supposed to continually review chemicals and ingredients in children’s products and constantly improve them and continue to ban harmful substances.

I do question what they are replacing phthalates with, and is it safe?  

News Articles:

Fox News
ABC news article
EWG
Bush to sign bill

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TruKid Sunny Days Sunscreen: Product Review

Kirkland Baby Wipes Contain Hazardous Ingredient
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Lead in Christmas Lights

Lead in Christmas Lights

I do not know why I have not seen this before – LEAD in Christmas lights?? The PVC coating on the strands contains a certain amount of lead, which is required by the UL (Underwriters Laboratories who sets the safety standards for product compliance) to act as a fire retardant and gives it its flexibility.

If you look at the back of your Christmas light box, you will see a little warning that the product contains lead which is known in the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects. Many people think California is a bit liberal, but when it comes to product safety and requiring companies to post warnings on all products that contain potentially harmful components, they are right on target. I back them 100% and we should all look to California as an example here.

The fact is, no amount of lead has been determined to be safe for humans. Let me repeat that – NO AMOUNT OF LEAD IS CONSIDERED SAFE. Yet we come into contact with it in our daily lives. Not only is lead in Christmas tree lights, but in nearly all electrical cords as it is found in the PVC coating to help make it flexible.

Is there a safe alternative to lead? YES, calcium and zinc are said to be as effective and are both approved by UL. Companies have not pursued this because it would be too expensive. I for one am willing to shell out a few more bucks to rid my house of these toxic lights. So, we will continue to be exposed to lead unless someone does something about it.

What can we do?

  • First, keep your children away from the lights. It’s electric, so really they should not be playing with the lights in the first place.
  • Wash your hands and your children’s hands after touching the lights.
  • Wear gloves while stringing up or adjusting lights.
    As mentioned, lead is found in most electrical cords – take precautions when handling those as well.
  • If you really want to be heard, don’t buy Christmas lights and write letters to GE, Phillips, etc. and demand lead-free electrical products. Encourage others to do the same.
  • Search for lead free Christmas lights and electric products, and let me know if you find any because my search resulted in dead ends.

Hope you have a safe and blessed Christmas season!