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[greenyes] Fwd: Vinyl Lunch Boxes Can Contain Dangerous Levels of Lead


Apologies for Cross-Postings

Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 16:40:08 -0700
From: "Michael Green" <mgreen@no.address>

Dear Friends of CEH,

We thought you all would like to see our press release from yesterday, with some important information for before school starts!

Michael

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2005

Contact: Lara Cushing, 510-594-9864; 510-499-6832 (cell); Michael Green, 510-594-9864; 510-378-7333

A Back to School Warning:
Children?s Vinyl Lunch Boxes Can Contain Dangerous Levels of Lead

Oakland, CA ? The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) announced it is filing lawsuits today against makers and retailers of soft vinyl lunch boxes that can expose children to harmful levels of lead. The Center has also notified several other companies of violations under California?s toxics law Proposition 65 (Prop 65) for lunch boxes with high lead levels. The lawsuits and violation notices against companies including Toys ?R? Us, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Time Warner, Walgreens, and others involve many lunch boxes featuring beloved children?s characters including Superman, Tweety Bird, Powerpuff Girls, and Hamtaro. The level of lead in one lunch box, an Angela Anaconda box made by Targus International, tested at 56,400 parts per million (ppm) of lead, more than 90 times the 600 ppm legal limit for lead in paint in children?s products.

?Lead exposure should not be on the lunch menu when kids? go back to school this fall,? said Michael Green, CEH Executive Director. ?There is no reason to expose children to any lead from lunch boxes. We are calling on these companies to recall these products and take action to eliminate lead from their products in the future.?

Initial independent laboratory testing commissioned by CEH has already found seventeen lunch boxes with high lead levels, and the group?s investigation is ongoing. In addition to the testing on the Angela Anaconda lunch box, tests on other lunch boxes showed levels of lead between two and twenty-five times the legal limit for lead paint in children?s products. In most cases, the highest lead levels were found in the lining of lunch boxes, where lead could come into direct contact with food. Lead is known to be harmful to children even in minute amounts, as it can impair brain development and cause other behavioral and developmental problems. Children may be exposed to lead from lunch boxes when they eat food that has been stored in them. Handling the lunchboxes just before eating could also be an exposure risk.

It is not possible to tell by appearance whether a vinyl lunch box may contain lead, so CEH is advising parents to avoid vinyl lunch boxes altogether. ?Parents may need to seek out alternatives, since many mass produced lunch boxes are vinyl or vinyl-lined,? said Green. ?A reusable cloth bag would be a good alternative.? Parents can find information on how to test for lead in their children?s lunch boxes at home at www.cehca.org/lunchboxes.

The CEH lawsuits were filed today against lunch box producers Igloo and InGear, and against retailers Toys ?R? Us, Walgreens, Big Lots, and Ross Stores. Earlier this year, CEH sent notices of Prop 65 violations to Targus International, DC Comics, Time Warner, Warner Brothers, Binney & Smith (a division of Hallmark and the makers of Crayola-brand lunch boxes), Fast Forward LLC, and Holiday Fair Incorporated. Under Prop 65, companies have sixty days to respond to violation notices, after which lawsuits can be filed. CEH expects to file more notifications of lunch boxes that violate Prop 65 in the near future.

Photos of the lunch boxes can be found at www.cehca.org/lunchboxes.
# # #



-------------
Michael Green
[Donate to CEH at <http://www.cehca.org/support.htm>www.cehca.org/support.htm]



Gary Liss
916-652-7850
Fax: 916-652-0485
www.garyliss.com

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