Lead found in toys, backpacks in U.S. stores
Lead found in toys, backpacks in U.S. stores Wed Oct 10, 3:07 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Curious George doll bought at Toys "R" Us was found to be tainted with 10 times the legally-allowed lead level, and vinyl lunch boxes and backpacks also had high amounts of lead, the nonprofit group Center for Environmental Health said on Wednesday.
The Curious George doll found with high amounts of lead was made by Marvel Entertainment Group Inc, the Oakland, California-based group said in a statement. A Marvel spokesman said he was unaware of the advocacy group's finding and had no immediate comment.
Millions of toys made in China have been recalled over the last three months due to unsafe levels of lead paint, which is toxic and can pose serious health risks, including brain damage, in children.
The Center for Environmental Health also said it found high lead levels in vinyl lunch boxes and backpacks made by Sassafras Enterprises of Chicago.
The group filed a legal notice accusing privately-owned Sassafras of violating a 1986 California law that prohibits exposing consumers to carcinogens without warning.
A spokeswoman for Sassafras said the company tests its products for lead and that she was unaware of the group's statement.
The advocacy group also notified 10 retail store chains that they were selling toys with excessive lead in violation of the California law.
The stores were Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Kmart, Sears, KB Toys, Target, RC2 Corp, Michael's Stores Inc, Costco Wholesale Corp and Kids II Inc.Michael Green, executive director of the center, said the legal notices were the first step in potential lawsuits against the companies.
"We want companies to test for lead before selling these items," Green said. "The federal government isn't doing its job."
Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House this month introduced legislation that would virtually ban lead from toys and other goods used by children younger than six. Lawmakers have criticized the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for not doing enough to protect children from excessive lead.
The Center for Environmental Health took similar action when it found unsafe levels of lead in vinyl bibs at Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us stores in California, which resulted in both retailers pulling all vinyl bibs from their shelves nationwide, Green said.
Is anything safe anymore?
People need to seriously start boycotting Chinese-made products... from the tainted pet food to toxic toothpaste and now poisonous toys, it just isn't worth it. Buy American...
I agree...but almost everything is made overseas these days. Even Reebok and Nike...
Wanna hear something disgusting...my boss had a friend who got sick from wearing a bra that she didn't wash before wearing...it was made overseas and when it was transported contained a parasite that made her ill.
Don't forget to wash what you buy before wearing, I guess!
Particularly imported goods...
Lipsticks contain lead, consumer group says By Karen Jacobs
Thu Oct 11, 6:59 PM ET
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Lipsticks tested by a U.S. consumer rights group found that more than half contained lead and some popular brands including Cover Girl, L'Oreal and Christian Dior had more lead than others, the group said on Thursday.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said tests on 33 brand-name red lipsticks by the Bodycote Testing Group in Santa Fe Spring, California, found that 61 percent had detectable lead levels of 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm).
Lipstick, like candy, is ingested. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of public health, environmental and women's groups, said the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick.
One-third of the lipsticks tested contained an amount of lead that exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy -- a standard established to protect children from ingesting lead, the group said. Thirty-nine percent of the lipsticks tested had no discernible lead, it said.
"It's critical that manufacturers reformulate their product," said Stacy Malkan, a co-founder of the coalition. "It's possible to make lipsticks without lead, and all companies should be doing that."
Lead can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as reduced school performance and increased aggression. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, the group said in its statement. Lead has also been linked to infertility and miscarriage, it said.
Procter & Gamble Co's makes Cover Girl brand and France's L'Oreal is one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world.
Over the last three months, more than 20 million toys made in China have been recalled, mostly due to the use of lead paint.
The coalition said that some less expensive brands it had tested, such as Revlon, had no detectable levels of lead, while the more expensive Dior Addict brand had higher levels than some other brands.
The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association trade group said in a statement that lead was a naturally occurring element that was not intentionally added to cosmetics.
The FDA has "set strict limits for lead levels allowed in the colors used in lipsticks, and actually analyze most of these to ensure they are followed," the association's statement said. "The products identified in the (CSC) report meet these standards."
L'Oreal's U.S. arm said its products are reviewed and tested by a safety team that includes toxicologists, pharmacists and doctors.
"All the brands of the L'Oreal Group are in full compliance with FDA regulations" as well as safety requirements in international markets, L'Oreal USA said in a statement.
P&G said in a statement that the quantity of lead a consumer might be exposed to from its lip product "is hundreds of times less than the amount that she would get from eating, breathing and drinking water."
"Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure," said Dr. Mark Mitchell, president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.
Infant cold medicines pulled off market By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer
2 hours, 6 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Drug makers pulled cold medicines targeted for babies and toddlers off the market Thursday, leaving parents to find alternatives for hacking coughs and runny little noses just as fall sniffles get in full swing.
The move represented a pre-emptive strike by over-the-counter drug manufacturers — a week before government advisers were to debate the medicines' fate. But it doesn't end concern about the safety of these remedies for youngsters.
Thursday's withdrawal includes medicines aimed at children under age 2, after the Food and Drug Administration and other health groups reported deaths linked to the remedies in recent years, primarily from unintentional overdoses.
A remaining question is whether children under 6 should ever take these nonprescription drugs.
Baltimore city officials filed a petition with the FDA — joined by the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and prominent pediatricians around the country — arguing that oral cough and cold medicines don't work in children so young, and pose health risks not just for babies but for preschoolers, too.
"Pediatricians are taught these products don't work and may not be safe. Yet almost every parent uses them," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore's health commissioner and a pediatrician, who blames ads that overpromise relief.
The challenge, he says, will be to convince parents to try old-fashioned methods, like suctioning out infants' noses or using salt-water nose drops.
"If you can actually pull a booger out with a suction device, people can feel better," Sharfstein said.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association announced Thursday that manufacturers were voluntarily ending sales of over-the-counter oral cough and cold products aimed at infants. The list includes infant drops sold under the leading brand names Dimetapp, Pediacare, Robitussin, Triaminic, Little Colds, and versions of Tylenol that contain cough and cold ingredients.
CVS Caremark Corp. added that it would also end sales of CVS-brand equivalents.
"It's important to point out that these medicines are safe and effective when used as directed, and most parents are using them appropriately," said Linda Suydam, president of the industry trade group.
The American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees. It said, in general, the drugs shouldn't be used for colds in small children.
"This is not a situation in which pediatric data are lacking and we are unable to say one way or the other," Dr. Jay Berkelhamer, the academy's national president, wrote the FDA last month. In multiple studies, they have "been found not to be effective in this population at all."
Lark Hackney of Anchorage, Alaska, said her two grandchildren, 1-year-old Taylor and 2-year-old Julius have had many colds.
"We go to the doctor if it's gucky and it lasts very long, but a lot of times we just treat it with, you know, treat the symptoms" like fever or cough with children's medicine over the counter, said Hackney, who was at the National Zoo in Washington with her grandchildren.
She said they have used children's cold medicines and neither child has had a bad reaction.
The FDA is bringing its scientific advisers together Oct. 18-19 to debate the issues, but its own preliminary review concluded that very young children shouldn't take some of these commonly used medicines. And while the FDA's main focus is on children under 6, it also will ask if there's evidence that these drugs work in children up to age 12.
FDA praised the drugmakers' withdrawals Thursday as important for protecting babies.
For other youngsters, parents should understand that cold remedies treat only symptoms, they don't make viruses go away any faster, stressed FDA pediatrician Dr. Dianne Murphy, who urged parents to consult their pediatricians.
"What's the risk? That's what this whole meeting is about," she said. "You need to weigh 'Is that symptom that important to treat?' "
Most coughs shouldn't be suppressed — that's how the body clears the lungs, she added. Low-grade fevers are how the body fights infection.
Maureen Javers of Silver Spring, Md., likes to let colds play out unless a doctor says her children, 3-year-old Declan and 1-year-old Evelyn have an infection.
"I don't really like to medicate them if they don't need to have the medicine," she said.
Health groups say that while low doses of cold medicine don't usually endanger an individual child, the bigger risk is unintentional overdose. For example, the same decongestants, cough suppressants and antihistamines are in multiple products, so using more than one to address different symptoms — or having multiple caregivers administer doses — can quickly add up. Also, children's medicines are supposed to be measured with the dropper or measuring cap that comes with each product, not an inaccurate kitchen teaspoon.
And, since "the medicine isn't doing what the family wants, instead of giving as directed every six hours they give every four hours or every two hours," says Dr. Basil Zitelli of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, who sees such children in the emergency room. "What they in effect are doing is poisoning their child."
What to try instead? Pediatric and public health groups recommend:
_Plenty of fluids and rest.
_Suction bulbs to gently clear infants' clogged noses. Saline nose drops loosen thick secretions so noses drain more easily.
_A cool-mist humidifier in the child's bedroom.
_Acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as recommended by your doctor, to alleviate pain or discomfort — but check that they don't contain extra ingredients.
_Some chest creams can ease stuffiness with menthol or other fragrances, but check labels for age restrictions.
I have been throwing away SOOO many toys. Can't really trust anything fron China.
..and now they're finding lead in makeup!
Who knows what's safe anymore.
Sex is now really the only safe thing. With a condom.
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