In November, Chicago Parent published a story about vinyl lunchboxes that may contain—and expose kids to—dangerous levels of lead. And while scientists have yet to figure out whether these lunch sacks put kids at risk, one prominent lead expert in Chicago, Dr. Helen J. Binns, a pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital, suggested parents play it safe and use paper sacks instead.
Despite that, Patty Davis, a spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, told us parents should not worry, because lead must be digested to enter the bloodstream. "A child would have to rub their lunchboxes with their hands and lick them 100 times a day for 15 to 30 days in order for these lunchboxes to present any danger," Davis said.
Officials in New York aren’t buying it.
So without waiting for the federal commission to act, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer took action to protect kids from possible exposure to lead in those lunchboxes. The attorney general’s office reached an agreement with wholesaler Fast Forward LLC to recall the company’s lunchboxes from New York stores. Retailers Target and Wal-Mart have also taken the lunchboxes off their New York store shelves. But these lunchboxes, and others that have been found to contain lead, are still sold in the rest of the country—including Illinois.
For more information, visit www.oag.state.ny.us.
Other recent recalls:
Delta Enterprises cribs. These cribs, sold at Toys R Us, are painted with lead paint.
Stravina metal jewelry and zipper pulls. This is another recall of children’s metal jewelry found to contain lead. Six million items were sold between March 2002 and September 2005 at specialty, toy and dollar stores.
Ideal Distributors pacifiers. These pacifiers, which contain sugar water or honey in the nipple, do not meet current standards and may fall apart in the baby’s mouth. (In general, experts say it is not a good idea to leave sugary juice or other liquids in a baby’s mouth because of the serious risk of dental decay.)
Bobby Jack girl’s sleepwear. These pajama sets, sold at JC Penney stores, do not meet flammability requirements for children’s sleepwear.
To report a problem with a product or to see the complete list of recalls, visit www.cpsc.gov.
Nancy A. Cowles Executive director, Kids in Danger www.kidsindanger.org