Oakland, CA-An investigation by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has prompted lawsuits to be filed today by CEH and the California Attorney General against leading makers, distributors and suppliers of bounce houses (also called jump houses or inflatable jumpers). CEH testing found one bounce house contained more than 70 times the federal limit for lead in children's products under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Independent testing commissioned by CEH also showed that lead from bounce houses can expose children to the toxic chemical at levels that violate California law.
"Parents expect that their children might be a little dizzy after a jumping session, but most parents would never suspect that a bounce house could pose a hidden health threat," said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. "We look forward to working with the Attorney General to eliminate these unnecessary lead exposures to children."
The companies to be sued today supply bounce houses to many retail bounce house party outlets as well as to independent companies that rent and deliver bounce houses to individuals, festivals and events.
Bounce houses are often made with vinyl (polyvinyl chloride, or PVC), a "poison plastic" that is often made with lead, a neurotoxin that can cause learning disorders, brain and nerve damage, hearing problems, stunted growth, and digestive problems. Scientists are increasingly convinced that there is no safe level of lead exposure, especially for young children.
"I'm horrified by these findings. My daughter just celebrated her 6th birthday with a bounce house party, and we've been to at least 7 other bounce house events in the last year," said Mary Brune, Co-founder & Director of MOMS, a national grassroots movement of mothers and others working to eliminate the presence of toxic chemicals in the environment that can contaminate our bodies and breast milk. "We parents can't police all of the places our children visit looking for invisible health hazards. This problem needs to be solved—and soon."
In addition to the companies named in the lawsuits, CEH has been discussing lead in bounce houses with industry leader Ninja Jump of Los Angeles, in hopes of resolving the issue industry-wide.
CEH began testing bounce houses for lead this spring, finding bounce houses made by several companies containing high levels of lead. The Center initiated the state's first legal action to end lead threats from bounce houses in February, notifying the Attorney General and the bounce house suppliers about the health concern.
Just last month, CEH and the Attorney General finalized legal agreements with leading artificial turf producers to end lead threats to children from their products (see http://bit.ly/9eIQ0p ).
CEH has a fourteen-year track record of protecting communities from the health impacts of toxic pollution and has previously uncovered lead and other toxic health threats to children from wood playground structures, toys, vinyl baby bibs and lunchboxes, imported candies, children's jewelry, children's medicines, and many other products. CEH also works with major industries and leaders in green business to promote healthier alternatives to toxic products and practices. Earlier this year the San Francisco Business Times bestowed its annual "Green Champion" award to CEH for its work to improve health and the environment in the Bay Area and beyond.
The settling companies have also agreed to payments totaling nearly $1.7 million, which includes payments to the State of California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, payments to help fund CEH's ongoing work to educate and protect Californians from toxic health hazards, payments to help defer CEH's legal expenses, and money from each company towards a testing fund to be used by CEH to monitor for compliance with the terms of the agreement.
For a list of the bounce house makers named in today's lawsuits and more information, see www.ceh.org.
New York Times article, Suit Sees Lead Risk in Bounce Houses
Defendants in the CEH case are:
Cutting Edge Creations, Inc.
Funtastic Factory, Inc. dba Einflatables.com;
The Inflatable Store, Inc/Leisure Activities Co., Ltd.
Jump for Fun, Inc.
Magic Jump, Inc.
Bay Area Jumps