An Environmental group based in California has found lead in some popular baby products made of vinyl plastic.
The products include a Medela-brand cooler for storing breast milk, a cooler sold with the First Years breast pump manufactured by RC2, a Playtex baby bottle cooler and a vinyl pacifier carrying case made by Skip Hop.
The Center for Environmental Health, the group that did the tests, purchased the products in January and tested them first with a hand-held metal detector and then at a laboratory. The products were found to have from 1,100 parts per million of lead to 5,500 parts per million of lead, the group says.
Because the lead is not accessible, the plastics and children’s products industries claim that lead in plastic is not a health concern.
U.S. law bans lead from paint used on toys and other children’s products, but there is no mandatory federal rule about lead inside other materials in children’s products.
American legislators are considering new laws about product safety, and one provision in the proposed law would put a limit on the total amount of lead that could be in children’s products, no matter the materials. If enacted, that limit might forbid lead in plastic at the levels found by the California group. The group contends that no level of lead is safe in children’s products.
Allen Blakey, a spokesman for the Vinyl Institute, a trade group based in Arlington, Virginia, said it was unclear how lead could have gotten in plastic children’s products. The vinyl industry in the United States stopped using lead in plastic years ago, he said, and instead uses tin, calcium, barium or zinc as a stabilizer to provide durability.