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It seems that sometimes I can’t turn around without hearing another story about lead popping up in some children’s PVC product.    Plastics make it possible, right?

Last week, CNN reported that new testing by Consumer Reports magazine found elevated levels of lead in children’s vinyl rain coats.

Jeeeeeeez, what will it take for the chemical industry to get its act together?

Just a few weeks before that, thanks to new testing by the Center for Environmental Health, last month the California Attorney General's office  filed a major lawsuit against manufacturers of children’s PVC bouncy houses.  Testing found  very high levels of lead – as high as 29,000 ppm.  The federal limit on lead in children’s products is 90pp for painted surfaces and 300ppm for all other parts.   You do the math.

So what’s a little lead? Well of course scientists have been sounding the alarm on lead for decades, which is why we got it out of gasoline a generation ago.  Even the smallest amount effects a child’s ability to learn.  Children are more vulnerable than adults to lead.  Lead impacts brain development, causing learning and developmental problems including decreased IQ scores, shorter attention spans, and delayed learning.  When children are exposed to lead, the developmental and nervous system consequences are irreversible.  Nationwide 310,000 children already have lead levels of concern.

But yet it continues to turn up in all sorts of PVC products.  It’s been found in PVC:

  • Children’s toys
  • Baby bibs
  • Garden hoses
  • Lunch boxes
  • Children’s bouncy houses
  • Christmas trees (!)
  • Christmas lights
  • Window blinds
  • Cables
  • Breast milk coolers
  • Key rings
  • Pencil cases
  • Placemats
  • Purses
  • Rain hats
  • Shower curtains
  • Umbrellas

And the list go’s on and on and on.

Here in the U.S. - the CPSC first learned about the problems of lead back in 1996 when unexplainable high blood lead levels were found in children in Arizona, North Carolina, and Virginia.  Vinyl miniblinds were identified as the common source of lead dust.  A study by the CPSC found the light degraded the blinds and caused the formation of toxic lead dust which was then apparently ingested by the children.

To help keep your family safe, here’s a few great resources for avoiding lead in your children’s products:

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