#ReportersNotebook I began following the blogger Natural Baby Mama a little over a year ago while investigating concerning flame retardants found in a popular green car seat. She and her readers provided background information and personal anecdotes that helped to propel our Toxic Safety investigation forward.
They are a passionate and highly knowledgeable group of moms who focus on living a non-toxic lifestyle.
Full disclosure: I do not lead a non-toxic life. However, after years of reporting on relevant issues, I do try to make simple choices that reduce my child’s exposure to chemicals that are known to cause cancer, developmental delays, etc.
A couple weeks ago Natural Baby Mama posted a blog about lead found in a popular non-toxic Green Sprout sippy cup. I was struck by the number Baby Mama readers who began testing their own cups with at-home lead swab tests and sending in photos of what appeared to be positive lead results.
So, I sent the blog along to the Center for Environmental Health which regularly tests products for lead and other concerning chemicals. They said they were already looking into the accusations and agreed to test a couple samples on-camera for me using their x-ray florescence analyzer (XRF). The Consumer Product Safety Commission also used an XRF to screen for lead.
The Center for Environmental Health purchased Green Sprout sippy cups this week at a local Whole Foods, and later on Amazon.com. Their XRF found the paint used for the measurement markings on the glass insert tested positive for lead at above 4000 ppm. The allowable limit for children’s products is 90 ppm.
Read the full KPIX story here:
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A popular children’s brand is backtracking on a voluntary recall after a blogger and parents across the country claimed to have found lead in the company’s sippy cup.
Using an x-ray florescence analyzer (XRF) on Wednesday, the Center for Environmental Health tested the paint on the popular Green Sprouts brand of children’s sippy cup. The paint used for the measurement markings on the glass insert tested positive for above 4000 ppm lead.
The company initially told me it was going to voluntarily recall the product, but later backtracked citing its own independent testing. This, as you might expect, has set off a firestorm on social media.
Aside from providing a public service announcement for parents who may have this product in their home, it was important for me to tell this story because it highlights the impact that parents are having on consumer goods.
It was consumer outrage that prompted one car seat manufacturer to design the first infant car seat without chemical flame retardants. That same passion is likely what convinced another manufacturer to voluntarily recall their car seats when we discovered one contained a concerning chemical retardant.
NOTE: Natural Baby Mama launched a petition to urge lawmakers to revise outdated regulations that manufacturers say require retardants to make affordable car seats.
When chemical-conscious parents stopped buying cans with BPA, more companies began removing the chemical. And I suspect that the lead discovered by the Natural Baby Mama community will prompt changes within the sippy cup industry as well.
Bottom line, between blogs, social media and buying power, parents now have a louder voice than ever before. And it appears, in some cases, companies are listening.
Parents also have access to more resources than ever before that allow them to fact check and hold companies accountable.
Here are just a few:
For more on The Baby Mama lead tests see the following links:
MissLEAD – http://tamararubin.com/
Full Company Responses:
February 9, 2017
i play., Inc., maker of green sprouts® brand, was founded with a mission to produce healthy baby products. When I started i play 35 years ago, our basic premise has been to use safe and healthful materials and to be proactive in our research to find potentially harmful ingredients or additives. Our goal is to not only meet, but to exceed, the standards established for children’s products by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) and other regulatory bodies.
Consumers have contacted us regarding home screenings of the glass insert within our Glass Sip and Straw Cup, showing mixed results of lead content. We take these claims very seriously, and have been investigating, but decided to take corrective action without delay in an abundance of caution.
We have made the decision to conduct a voluntary recall of the Glass Sip and Straw Cup. We have contacted the CPSC to inform them of our decision and we will be working them to notify the public and to develop a corrective action plan. We appreciate our customers and their support while we resolve this issue.
NEWSMOM NOTE: In a phone call the following day, i play backtracked on the recall stating that their own independent testing of a sample of the bottles found “lead levels below the legal limit.” However, they stated they would continue to work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The issue in question is under investigation. We recently received a report from a consumer who tested the solder point located on the exterior base of a discontinued version of our 9oz insulated bottle. When the bottle was manufactured and before it was sold, the solder point was covered by a stainless steel cover that is adhered to the base of the bottle during the manufacturing process (and is not intended to ever be removed from the bottle) and was independently tested to be lead-free (please see attached independent lab testing report). The customer that reported a positive result for lead informed us that the metal disk had been removed or fallen off from the bottom of the bottle before she tested it.
Our current juvenile insulated bottles employ an updated design which includes an improved two-piece base design (as seen by the small seam near the base of the bottle).
NONE of our traditional (single wall, non-insulated) juvenile bottles (5oz and 11oz hourglass shape with a smooth base) employ a solder dot and have repeatedly passed all US and EU testing as well as being NonToxic Certified by MadeSafe.org. You can see all currently shipping bottles on our website at www.purastainless.com.
We have always, and will continue to test our products.
February 9, 2017
A statement to our customers regarding concerns about our water bottles:
We were recently made aware of a concern about the possibility of lead hazards in our Capsule BottleRocket water bottles. We were surprised and very concerned to hear this as we test all our products for lead safety. Our initial response was to immediately stop selling our bottles and to conduct CPSIA compliance testing with a certified laboratory.
We want to share with you that we have just received the additional test results and they show that OUR CAPSULE WATER BOTTLES PASS THE TESTS FOR LEAD SAFETY.
We measure this by testing our products for compliance with applicable government standards and regulations regarding lead hazards and exposure risk. The results were issued by an independent and internationally accredited testing organization. To see the report results please click here.
We know people may still have questions about the spot on the bottom of the bottle. The spot is a small piece of solder used to create a vacuum seal between the inner bottle that contains your drink and the outer stainless wall. The spot is contained by the outer plastic bottom so that users do not touch it. It has no contact with your drink and it does not flake easily like paint does. The testing standards that apply to Capsule, which is designed for kids over 3, focus on areas that are accessible to kids. As such, the testing standards do not call for the spot to be tested, as the bottom is designed to be covered by the plastic base.
To note: None of our Lunchboxes contain any solder. Our lunchboxes are pure stainless steel, which by definition contains no lead.
Of course, as part of our overall commitment to our customers, we want you to be satisfied with all of your PlanetBox items. If you are truly dissatisfied with your items, we can send you a prepaid label to ship them back to us and we will issue you a refund.
We want you to know that we take concerns about lead hazards very seriously. By way of background, our co-founder Caroline worked for a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in San Francisco for 4 years before joining forces with her husband Robert to start PlanetBox. While there, she learned in detail about the threats that lead can pose to young children. As you may know, the biggest threat of lead poisoning comes from paint in older homes. Importantly, lead is not something that can just “get into” a body without a pathway – it needs to be inhaled in the form of particulate or ingested in order to pose a potential risk to human health.
We understand that you turn to us looking for safe products for yourself and your family, and it is unsettling to read something that says that a product you are using might be unsafe. We apologize for any fears this has caused and hope that this explanation gives you the peace of mind that all of our products pass strict safety standards. Please know that we strive to continually learn more, do better and exceed standards. We are committed to improving our products based on lessons learned, as we truly believe that designing great products can help improve the health of people and the planet.