Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lead in Cartoon character water bottles, toys, kitchen utensils and jewelry 700 times higher than health standard

The amount of lead ranged from twice the federal limit in a metal ice cream scoop to 714 times the limit in a salt shaker lid.


Research reported recently by the Associated Press found that lead and cadmium were present in cartoon character drinking glasses.


Now a new study has found that many other items available for purchase throughout the United States -- such as toys, home d├ęcor items, salvage, kitchen utensils and jewelry -- contain surface lead concentrations more than 700 times higher than the federal limit.

The authors of the study were Laurel Sharmer of the State University of New York, Anna Harding of Oregon State University and Steven Shackley of the University of California, Berkeley. Sharmer, the lead author, is now retired and lives in Monmouth, Ore. The results are published in the December issue of The Journal of Environmental Health.

Researchers purchased a collection of used items from second-hand stores, junk shops and antiques stores in Virginia, New York and Oregon. The items included salvaged construction pieces, antique toys, common dishware, jewelry and other collectibles. Many of the items would have significant appeal to children. Before purchase the items were tested in the store using a qualitative swab test. Those that tested positive were purchased.


It was possible to purchase an item that contained lead in every single store the researchers visited....

Children should never be allowed to come into contact with antiques or used products sold by a seller who is not regulated by a government agency such as the Consumer Product Safety Administration or the FDA, the researchers said. Used dishware and kitchen utensils should not be used for preparing, serving or storing food. Construction debris and salvage should be considered to have lead until proven safe.

Examples of used items in the study that contained high levels of lead include a salt shaker lid, small red toy teapot, Garfield cup, a red casserole dish, potato ricer, ice cream scoop, Japanese wine cup, Pewter bowl, and a turtle necklace.


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