Q: Recent news reports have indicated that there are dangerous levels of lead in kid’s lunch boxes, is this correct?
A: No. CPSC staff has tested about 60 children’s lunch boxes for accessible lead, a wide sample of lunch boxes which include a number of different models from a number of different manufacturers. The staff tested the inside and/or outside surfaces of each box and found no instances of hazardous levels. The test involved 30 wipes of the same area on a lunch box. The results were consistently below one microgram (one millionth of a gram) of lead per wipe. Almost 90 percent of the results were below one-tenth of a microgram of lead. This is an extremely low level of lead and does not present a health hazard to children.
Q: How can you be sure that children are not being exposed to hazardous levels of lead in their lunch boxes?
A: CPSC tested for potential lead exposure which children might suffer through handling their lunch boxes and then putting their hands in their mouths. Based on the extremely low levels of lead found in our tests, in most cases, children would have to rub their lunch box and then lick their hands more than 600 times every day, for about 15-30 days, in order for the lunch box to present a health hazard.
Q: What is CPSC doing to prevent issues like this from coming up in the future?
A: CPSC staff encourages companies to use alternatives to lead in products intended for children. CPSC staff also recommends that manufacturers and importers of vinyl lunch boxes test their products for accessible lead using the CPSC staff’s laboratory test procedure. Finding and preventing lead hazards in children’s products is an important part of our mission and CPSC has a proven record of working with companies to recall products that pose a lead hazard to children.