Mom, There’s Lead Paint on My Baby Bib!

August 18, 2007

Lead Paint Tainted Baby BibsNow that we’ve been through the contaminated pet food scare, the antifreeze-laced toothpaste scare, the antibiotic-tainted seafood scare, the defective tire scare and the lead-painted toy scare, are you ready for the latest Chinese product — lead paint on vinyl baby bibs sold at Toys R Us and Babies R Us? Yep, it’s true. The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in Oakland, California found lead levels were three and four times the legal limit for lead in paint on bibs it purchased at Toys R Us and Babies R Us, including “Koala Baby” and “Especially for Baby” store brand bibs and “Disney Baby” bibs. The New York Times duplicated those contamination levels in the same bib brands, which it purchased in Maryland and had tested by an independent laboratory.

Incredibly, Toys R Us and Babies R Us initially balked at recalling the bibs, saying earlier this week that their findings were in line with those of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC took the position that they “preferred” bibs with low lead levels. (How about NO lead level in childrens’ bibs?!!!) THE CPSC said that when they tested the bibs, lead levels were within permissable limits and muddied the waters by telling parents that not all of the bibs were unsafe, instead urging parents to just not use bibs which were damaged. The lead can be ingested by children eating paint chips from cracked, peeling and worn sections of the bibs. What toddler do you know who wouldn’t love to chew on a brightly colored object dangling from their neck and within reach of little hands?

Toys R UsEarlier this week, CEH’s research director, Caroline Cox, said: “Lead in vinyl baby bibs poses a reckless, unnecessary hazard to children at the most vulnerable age. . .These companies have known for months that vinyl bibs could be a threat to children, yet they continued to put their profits ahead of children’s health.” By Friday, Toys R Us re-thought the matter and pulled the bibs.

The bibs were imported for Toys R Us by Hamco Baby Products, which had them manufactured in China. Hamco products are also available at K-Mart, the Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory, Target, Walmart and many other childrens’ stores. CEH also found “Kidcosmic” brand vinyl bibs with similarly high lead levels being sold in a Lisa Kline store.

The lack of a recall had prompted criticism by other safety advocates as well, including Patrick MacRoy, director of the Chicago lead poisoning prevention program, who told the Times: “All lead is bad lead. . .Why should we allow any lead to be in there?” Lead paint can cause nerve damage, mental retardation and even death in children.

Read the full CEH statement. Consumers can return the bibs for a refund, and can call 1-800-869-7787 for more information on the bib recall. In May, Walmart also undertook a nationwide recall of other lead-painted bibs made by Hamco which were sold in Walmart stores between June 2004 and March 2007.

Before you die from using cheap Chinese products, be sure to read more pleasant Chinese news.

Copyright © 2007

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