A Healthy California School Lunch: Fruit, Veggies, And A Bit Of Lead
Vinyl man (pictured) may be disappointed. "The hundreds of thousands of lunch boxes given away by California state health officials over the last several years were designed to promote healthful habits, bearing slogans such as "Eat Fruits & Vegetables and Be Active." Just one problem: At least some of them were made with unhealthful levels of lead."
"The California Department of Public Health said Thursday that it was recalling 300,000 green and blue canvas lunch coolers made in China and distributed throughout the state at health fairs and other events since 2004. No injuries have been reported as a result of the lead-tainted lunchboxes, California health officials said. But no exposure to lead is considered safe."
"The recall includes 56,000 dark-green canvas lunchboxes with Spanish and English versions of the "Eat Fruits & Vegetables" logo. State health officials were alerted to the problem after technicians from the Sacramento County Health Department, doing a spot check in late July, found elevated lead levels...Subsequent tests by the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control found that multiple parts of the boxes, such as the vinyl lining, contained lead.
TreeHugger comment:: In China, lead salts are commonly added to vinyl as a "stabilizer." There are newer, safer technologies: calcium or tin compounds, for example. Because these more benign stabilizers are more expensive, profits would be less. The choices are: depend on the CPSC to monitor imports of Chinese vinyl; trust Chinese companies to switch stabilizer technologies; don't buy low cost, non-durable, vinyl goods. We think the latter is the fastest and most reliable course of action, considering the governance of China and the USA.