Connecticut Orders Lead-Laden Lunchboxes Off Store Shelves

Connecticut Orders Lead-Laden Lunchboxes Off Store Shelves

December 23, 2005

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Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has demanded that several lunchbox manufacturing companies and retailers remove lunchboxes containing lead from store shelves or face legal action.

Certain manufacturers and retailers have been distributing and selling lunchboxes containing lead – one in particular with significantly higher lead levels than allowed under state environmental and consumer protection laws, Blumenthal’s office said. The lead is found in the lunchbox liner - in the vinyl, where it is a commonly used stabilizer.

Connecticut law prohibits the sale or promotion of any package, such as a lunchbox, if it is composed of any lead that has been intentionally introduced during the manufacturing or distribution of the packaging component.

Sale of products with even incidental concentrations of lead – exceeding 100 parts per million – are also banned.

One manufacturer, Fast Forward, LLC of New York, has sold vinyl lunchboxes in Connecticut containing 1,219 parts per million of lead.

Blumenthal’s office has confirmed that the Fast Forward lunchboxes were sold at Marshalls stores in the state – and there is reason to believe other retailers may have sold these products.

Blumenthal has consulted with Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy, who is supportive of this initiative.

The manufacturers and retailers include Igloo, Fast Forward, Frozn, Inc., JC Penney, Marshalls, Sears, Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart.

In a letter to these companies, Blumenthal demanded that they immediately stop selling these products and provide information about how many were sold in Connecticut.

“Lead, lunch and children are a perilous mix,” Blumenthal said. "The discovery of lead – 12 times the allowable limit – in children’s lunchboxes is appalling. Our law is clear: Lead-laden lunchboxes are illegal.

?Our General Assembly has adopted this clear public policy to protect the state’s citizens and environment by subjecting any person who breaks these provisions to a civil penalty of $10,000 per violation. We are prepared to seek a court order and stiff penalties. We will hold both manufacturers and retailers accountable,? said the attorney general.

“As a parent of four children, I’m outraged and astonished by this disregard for child safety and health. The message to these companies is – get the lead out or get out of Connecticut,” Blumenthal added.

In anticipation of the design of lunchboxes for next year’s back-to-school season, Blumenthal also warned manufacturers to avoid developing such lead products for the future.