(NaturalNews) There is no level of lead that is safe for the system, especially when it comes to children or pregnant women. So then why is lead in so many of our products? Lead is intentionally added to vinyl plastic as a stabilizing agent, and although there are cost effective alternatives this seems to be what manufacturers are sticking with. Companies that add lead to their products claim that their lead level is low, but considering it is added to so many different products, consumers are dealing with lead from several areas. The most disturbing lead laden products include children`s vinyl lunchboxes, bibs, toys, wallets, handbags, and jewelry - things one is in contact with every day.
In 2005 it came to light that many children were toting around soft vinyl lunchboxes that contained lead. Lead can be harmful to children even in small amounts. It can cause behavioral and developmental problems as well as impair brain development. Of the sixty lunchboxes tested, one in five contained a level considered unsafe and some had more than ten times the hazardous level. The level of lead in one lunch box tested at 56,400 parts per million (ppm) of lead, more than 90 times the 600 ppm legal limit for lead paint in children`s products. Companies told consumers that if they containerize their food and wash hands after handling the bag all would be well. It was argued that children would not be putting the bag into their mouth, but most parents didn`t think this was good enough. Many of the bags were recalled from major retailers, but only a couple of states have totally banned the use of lead in children`s products.
Lead has been found in plastic vinyl baby bibs, diaper bags, children`s toys, jewelry, and even candy. Most recently in Northern California various retailers have been warned that they are in violation of Proposition 65, a law that requires businesses to post warnings if they are selling products containing substances listed as causing cancer or reproductive harm. In April major retailers were found to be selling women`s purses, totebags, and wallets that contained a level of lead that exceeded state standards and in May the same was true for jewelry. Of the jewelry tested there was a $200 necklace that contained more than 175,000 ppm of lead, proving that the cost of the item has no bearing on what substances the product may contain. Pregnant women handling these wallets, handbags, and jewelry are at an increased risk. New studies have shown that lead crosses the placenta and can harm the fetus.
There are environmental organizations trying to keep harmful chemicals out of our products. They have made great advances, but for now consumers also need to make informed choices on their own. It may be wise to consider natural fibers when buying products that will be touched all the time such as a handbag, and there are companies that now sell lead free vinyl lunchboxes. For the products already owned a person can do a simple test to determine whether the product contains lead. There are about five test kits on the market today.