Friday, March 09, 2007
Last week our allies at the Center for Environmental Health revealed the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) failed to publicize testing revealing potentially dangerous levels of lead in children's PVC lunch boxes. Remarkably, after finding elevated levels of lead in PVC lunchboxes, as much as 16 times higher than levels allowed for lead in paint, the agency changed its testing procedure in an apparent effort to minimize findings of lead in lunch boxes. The agency then went on to issue a press release stating the lunch boxes were perfectly safe.
Through the years, the CPSC has failed to thoroughly respond to unnecessary dangerous chemicals in PVC consumer products. While the agency did take action when they discovered dangerous levels of lead in vinyl mini-blinds were escaping, they have failed to adequately protect the public from lead and other toxic additives in PVC lunch boxes and toys. A Greenpeace expose that discovered hazardous levels of lead and cadmium in a variety of vinyl consumer products, including products specifically designed and marketed for children, was rejected by the CPSC in the late '90s. Similarly in 2003, the CPSC denied a petition from health and environmental groups to ban phthalates in PVC toys, meanwhile these same dangerous chemicals have been outlawed in Europe.
Last year, Attorney Generals from NY and CT took legal action to remove lead from children's lunchboxes. In July of 2006, the FDA ordered retailers and manufacturers to stop marketing vinyl lunchboxes containing lead, because of potential exposure concerns. The nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, went a step further than the FDA, and agreed to stop selling all PVC lunchboxes due to potential health and environmental concerns. Wal-Mart is also phasing out PVC private label packaging and recently unveiled a new precautionary chemicals policy.
This begs an important question - with Wal-Mart phasing out PVC lunchboxes and packaging, what is Target doing to protect our families from the poison plastic? Absolutely nothing. While Target has an opportunity to be a true leader on this critical health issue, their aisles are filled with products made from poisonous chemicals linked to cancer.
Take action today and urge Target to phase out PVC lunch boxes and other hazardous products made out of the poison plastic. After you take action, be sure to forward this on to your friends and family, and learn how you can test your child's lunchbox for lead.
Are your Family's Products Safe?
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) products are everywhere and are dangerous to our health and environment from start to finish - in the factory, at home, and in the trash - releasing poisonous chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects. The good news is that safe, cost-effective, alternatives to PVC are readily available and responsible companies are phasing it out. [Read More]