As if we parents didn't have enough to worry about! Not even the kids' lunch boxes are safe!!
Research commissioned by the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland , California showed that the lining in some kids' lunch boxes contained high levels of lead. Lead can harm children even in minute amounts. It hinders brain development and can cause a variety of behavior and other developmental disorders. Children may be exposed to the lead in lunch boxes if they eat food that's been carried in them or if they handle the boxes and then put their hands in their mouths.
Because it's not possible to tell by appearance whether a vinyl lunch box may contain lead, CEH is advising parents to avoid buying vinyl lunch boxes altogether. You can test any vinyl lunch boxes you already own using a hand-held lead testing kit. If your hardware store doesn't carry one, you can find one from LeadCheck.
If your child's lunch box tests positive, CEH would like you contact them toll-free at 800-652-0827 . The organization will help you interpret the results. The organization may also use your product as evidence in its campaign to get the lead out of kid's lunch boxes.
Note: CEH has only tested soft plastic lunchboxes. The brands that have tested high include Generation Sports, Frozn/Ingear, Roundhouse/Targus, Crayola, American Studio, Igloo, Sanford, Fast Forward, Arizona Jean Company, JC Penny, Lisa Frank, Animations/Accessory Network, Holiday Fair/Mischief Makers, Extreme Gear/Romar, SubZero/Global Advantage, Chill, Big Dogs, Childress baby bottle carriers, Innovo, East End Accessories/Worldwide Dreams. Not all lunchboxes with these brand names necessarily contain lead.
Alternatives to Vinyl Lunch Boxes:
- Reusablebags.com sells organic and regular cotton bags, "Lunchbugs" cloth lunch bags, EarthPak bags made from recycled soda bottles, and Cool Totes insulated lunch bags, among many other styles.
- World of Good offers a hand woven reed lunchbox and is committed to fair trade.
- Mimi the Sardine sports fun, vinyl-free water-proof lunchbags online and in Whole Foods stores in the Northwest and Southwest.
- Progressive Kid offers EarthPak bags made from two, "upcycled" two-liter plastic bottles.
- Laptop Lunches makes a bento box sectioned off to hold fruit, cookies, a sandwich and drink.