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 Lead poisoning and lunch boxes 

 An estimated 19,000 children under age six in Ohio have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that identifies high-risk counties and neighborhoods across the state. The study is based on lead poisoning risk criteria from the federal Centers for Disease Control and
Ohio state health officials…Read More

Beware of Lead in Children’s Lunch BoxesThe Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in Oakland, California filed a lawsuit on August 31, 2005 against manufacturers and retailers of soft vinyl lunch boxes that can potentially expose children to dangerous levels of lead. The amount of lead found in soft vinyl lunch boxes is not enough to cause acute lead poisoning, but is enough to contribute to health problems now and in the future, the most common of which are:

  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Stomachaches
  • Poor appetite
  • Hearing problems
  • Stunted growth
  • Brain and nerve damage
  • Digestive disorders
  • Reproductive problems

According to the CEH’s report, the majority of lunch boxes tested did not contain lead. Of the 17 boxes that tested positive for lead, the one that contained the most lead was an Angela Anaconda box made by Targus International, which tested at 56,400 parts per million (ppm) of lead, more than 90 times the 600 ppm legal limit for lead in paint in children’s products. The rest of the boxes that tested positive had between two and twenty-five times the legal limit for lead in paint in children’s products.

One of the reasons why the CEH’s investigation is of significant concern is that the highest lead levels were found in the lining of lunch boxes, where it can easily come into contact with food, and where kids are likely to touch before handling their food.

It’s important to note that only soft plastic lunch boxes were tested for this report. The CEH did not test any hard plastic or metal lunch boxes.

If your child uses a soft plastic lunch box and you want to be sure that it doesn’t contain harmful levels of lead, the only way of knowing for sure is by testing it with a simple lead testing kit. In the U.S., you can find inexpensive kits at leadcheck.com or by calling 1-800-884-6073 for PACE’s Lead Alert kit. In Canada and other countries, your best bet is to call a local hardware store and ask if they have a simple lead testing kit, one that can be used to check for contamination on walls and other everyday materials that children can come into contact with.

Of course, the safest approach would be to do away with soft plastic lunch boxes and stick with reuseable cloth bags or brown paper bags.Below are some of the lunch boxes that tested high for lead in laboratory tests. CEH recommends against buying any lunch boxes made with vinyl. (See Article 3)CEH’s factsheet on lunchboxes includes a list of brand names that have been found to contain lead. CEH’s lead poisoning brochure gives general information on preventing lead poisoning. (You will need Acrobat Reader to open these files.)

 Water for kids lunch boxes

 The tendency if for busy parents to put bottled water in their kids’ lunch boxes.  And many lunch boxes have a slot for the bottled water.  But if you would like your kids to drink water that is not too questionable (see https://muriella.wordpress.com/2007/04/20/make-your-own-bottled-water-and-save-the-planet/), empower them with their own water bottles with filters that they can fill and use whenever they want to.  They would not have to fill their bottles with tap water when their bottled water is finished.  The water bottle and filter can be used again and again.  View Product Information

Check these lunch boxes below:

“Lead Free” labels

Below is a sampling of “lead-free” labels commonly found on vinyl lunchboxes this season (2006).  CEH can not affirm that these labels are accurate, and recommend parents test their own lunchboxes with a lead swabbing kit to ensure their child’s lunchbox is safe.


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Alternatives to Vinyl


Below are a list of manufacturers that offer vinyl-free lunchboxes. This list is not necessarily all-inclusive.


Reusablebags.com offers several vinyl-free lunchboxes:

Organic and regular cotton bags

“Lunchbugs” cloth lunch bags

CoolTotes insulated bags

EarthPak bags made from recycled soda bottles

SIGG Kids Bags

Lunch Pak by Fleurville

Laptop Lunch Kit

byo lunchbag® by BuiltNY


World of Good offers a hand woven reed lunchbox and is committed to fair trade.


Mimi the Sardine offers vinyl-free water-proof lunchbags online and in Whole Foods stores in the Northwest and Southwest.

Progressive Kid offers EarthPak bags for sale on their website and are committed to social responsibility and environmental awareness.

Source: www.EWG.org; www.cdc.gov


Comments on: "Childhood Lead poisoning – what’s for lunch?" (2)

  1. […] For an earlier article lead poisoning  click here. […]

  2. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts, apparently you know what are you talking about! Your site is so simple to use too, Ive bookmark it in my folder 😀

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