New York Company Recalls Lead-Tainted Lunchboxes

Lunch Box Maker
to Pull Hazardous Products from New
York Stores

Children's lunchbox distributor Fast
Forward LLC, one of the companies that the Center for Environmental Health (CEH)
took legal action against this summer for their lead-tainted lunchboxes, has
reached an agreement with the NY Attorney General to recall twenty-two styles of
children's lunchboxes from stores in New York State. In addition, WalMart will voluntarily pull the Fast Forward lunchboxes
from their stores nationwide. Fast Forward lunchboxes that tested for high lead
levels in independent tests commissioned by CEH included products featuring
well-known children's characters such as Superman, Tweety Bird, and Powerpuff Girls.
After independent testing commissioned by CEH showed high lead levels in vinyl
lunchboxes that pose a potential health hazard to children, the CEH legal action
against lunchbox makers brought national attention to the problem and prompted
health officials across the country to conduct their own investigations.

"This is a welcome first step in our
drive to protect children from lead in lunchboxes," said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. "The
companies involved in making and selling children's lunchboxes must now come
together to insure that all children are protected. We will continue to pursue
our legal action to forge an industry-wide standard for safer
lunchboxes."

The Fast Forward recall puts
pressure on other lunchbox makers to follow-suit. CEH testing found levels of
lead in lunchboxes made by other companies that were as high
or higher than the Fast Forward products. For example, an Angela Anaconda
lunchbox produced by Anaheim-based Targus
International tested at 56,400 parts per million of lead, more than 90 times the
600 ppm legal limit for lead in paint in children's
products. This and other lead-tainted lunchboxes may still be available in
New York and
nationally.

While the nationwide recall of Fast
Forward lunchboxes by WalMart is welcome, CEH is suing
several other retailers for selling lead-tainted lunchboxes, including Toys "R"
Us, Walgreens, Big Lots, and Ross Stores. Lead-tainted Fast Forward lunchboxes,
which CEH purchased from several Bay Area retailers this fall, may still be sold
in stores outside of New
York.

CEH is suing eight lunchbox makers
and retailers and has notified another twenty-four lunchbox companies of its
intent to sue under California law, which affords legal protection
from lead or other chemicals in children's products. But although CEH and other
groups have long urged stronger national laws on lead in vinyl children's
products, the federal government still has no legal standard for many uses of
vinyl. Despite the federal inaction on the lunchbox threat, other health
officials in several states have contacted CEH and are investigating the
problem.

Since CEH filed lawsuits against
lunchbox makers and retailers in August, dozens of parents from all across the
country have mailed their children's lunchboxes to the CEH office in Oakland, and over a
thousand parents have called or emailed CEH with questions or concerns about
their children's lunchboxes. Information and testing prompted by talks with
parents is helping CEH in its ongoing investigation and legal work.

"New York Attorney General Eliot
Spitzer has taken an important step to protect children from lead, and parents
all across the country helped make this victory happen," said Green. "We urge
parents who have lunchboxes from other companies to contact us and help us
insure that children are protected from lead threats in any lunchbox
brand."

For more information, please click here.
In the New
York area, the Attorney general's office lunchbox
information line is 800-771-7755. Fast Forward is a New York City-based company
and can be reached at 877-244-4433.

###