April 15, 2007

Tip: Don't Let The Kid Eat Lead, Jewelry

reebok_lead_jewelry.jpgLead is highly toxic for kids. They shouldn't get near it. And it turns out to be mostly up to you to guess what has lead in it and keep it away from your kid, because the EPA and the CPSC have basically confirmed that their lead testing, inspection, and prevention programs are not doing the job.

Environmental and child safety advocacy groups won a settlement with the EPA to increase its lead testing and standards enforcement after lead has been reported turning up in children's toys, jewelry, and clothing.

It seems that if it's cheap-ass, metal, and made in China, it could well have lead or lead paint. Encouraging, huh? A series of recalls involved hundreds of millions of pieces of children's jewelry in the last few years. Vending machine toys and painted pearl-looking jewelry were cited as particular risks. Some kid swallowed part of a Reebok charm bracelet and died; turns out it was 90% lead. Unfreakinbelievable.

EPA Agrees To Cut Lead in Kids' Products [ap/nyt]
Hippies keeping your kid safer than the government: Lead toy & jewelry advisory [sierraclub.org]


Totally unfreakinbelievable! And don't forget that if your house was built before 1978, you should probably test for lead dust as well. We just had our daughter tested and it was negative, but we're still considering getting a professional analysis done. Couldn't believe this is still an issue in today's world...

I live in an old house and I'm afraid to know what may be around us. Of course I'm not feeding my kids paint-chip salads or poking them with pencils, but still...

After subscribing to the CPSC RSS feed, and seeing the weekly recalls for lead-tainted products - I'm suprised that more isn't done. Either lawsuits against the retailers (i.e. Target/Walmart), or fines against them. They are large buyers of these products. I don't think its unreasonable to expect them to screen the products in advance - and I think it would save them the trouble/badwill of a recall. Even if its as simple as them asking their suppliers to certify that the products are leadfree (or even below whatever standard should exist) - and if the supplier's certification fails, then the supplier is liable to them for whatever damages they face. Money talks up and down the chain ... sigh ...

Airwick, I'm posting on this very topic tomorrow. I've had some email exchanges with the public affairs director at CPSC about whether or not they fine these importers. Guess what? They could, but they don't.

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