Monday, July 31, 2006

Dangerous Amounts of Lead in Vinyl Lunchboxes

(Did you know this girl is packing lead? The Center for Environmental Health, a non partisan organization, tested this Angela Anaconda box made by Targus International to have a whopping neuron-killing 56,400 parts per million of lead, more than 90 times the 600 ppm legal limit for lead in paint in children’s products**).

** Why do they allow lead paint in children's products at all, may I ask?

Inklings of this problem came out in the beginning of the year, and of course it sounded unthinkable--lead in products children USE FOR THEIR FOOD EVERY DAY? But for the 110% skeptical FertilityBitch and her cohorts this not only sounded plausible, but likely (e.g., there's tons o' lead in Christmas lights, by the way, for the same reason--helps keep the plastic on--ho ho ho). But we DO practice evidence-based paranoia and got ourselves a passle of lead check kits (you can get these swabs at the hardware store) and on the count of three swiped our lunchbags. Mine came out inconclusively smeary, but we DID get some hits (a Spiderman bag from Wal-Mart--ugh!), which was enough for me to chuck out anything remotely vinyl in the house (lead is often added to PVC to make it more durable).

I tried telling my family, but most thought I was nuts (okay, the flouride thing!) maligning their super convenient and economical lunchbags, so we mostly just quietly replaced ours with cloth ones (okay, they do leak) that I made, see below.

But the FDA, under pressure from groups like the CEH, is finally coming out with a public warning that I can legitimately wave in people's faces, but, just so's it won't make the FertilityBitch look any smarter or less paranoid to her vinyl and flouride loving extended family, the government has to make sure to muddy the issues (hello, Global Warming?) and save Wal-mart by talking out of both sides of their butt, self-rebutting the FDA warning by having the Consumer Products Safety Commission's Patty Davis stating the lunch boxes are "safe" and that children would have to rub their hands on the lunch box and then lick their hands more than 600 times a day for 15 to 30 days in order to be exposed to a dangerous amount of lead. I still don't know how they determine that, with such officious, blustery, for-sure empiricism. Some secret factory in Guantanamo where they're making the inmates lick their leady hands 600 times a day and then testing serum lead levels after? Really, people.

And why they just don't "get the lead out" and err on the side of SAFETY especially for CHILDREN who are going to EAT THINGS (e.g., fruit) that repeatedly rub against the leady surface, not to mention the vinyl could degrade and get on their hands...

So....ladies and gentlemen who are hoping to be/stay fertile or just healthy in general, please avoid lead, it's not doing you any fertility favors.

Here's the link to a pattern and intructions to make your own fabric lunchbags. Lazy peeps: old t-shirts sewn in a bag shape (i.e., just sew the armholes and neckhole shut, then thread string through the bottom seam to make a drawstring bag) work great and takes less than a half hour! Worsted Witch, any other good sewing tips?


David said...

I linked to your story, hope you dont mind, as its a big deal!

GreenFertility said...

Thank ya, Dave. Please link often! Spread the word about those _)@#$*#&%#$ lunch bags! Not to mention it just gets more @)($*#&$# lead into the environment.

Okay, I am going to take some St. John's wort now and calm down.

The Worsted Witch said...

A piece of velcro to close the bag might help :)