Posts Tagged ‘Lead’

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
Lead and phthalate free toys for Christmas
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and more
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalare free teethers and rattles
Toxins in cosmetics and beauty products

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

Related Articles:
California Baby Suncreen: Product Review
TruKid Sunny Days Sunscreen: Product Review

Kirkland Baby Wipes Contain Hazardous Ingredient
4 out of 5 Suncreens Do Not Work
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!