Apologies for Cross-Postings
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 16:40:08 -0700
From: "Michael Green" <email@example.com>
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!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2005
Contact: Lara Cushing, 510-594-9864; 510-499-6832 (cell); Michael Green,
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
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.
# # #
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