Lead in Baby Bibs

Problem: Vinyl baby bibs may contain high levels of lead, which can wipe off onto young children’s hands while they are eating. Lead is sometimes used in vinyl as a stabilizer, but in a baby bib the lead can pose a health hazard.

CEH Action: A Chicago-area grandmother saw news reports of CEH’s work to end lead threats from vinyl lunchboxes, and wondered if her grandson’s vinyl baby bib might also contain lead. Following advice from CEH, she tested the bibs and found that they were leady. She alerted CEH, and we purchased and tested the bibs and other brands, finding several with high levels of lead.

See the CEH Report, An Unnecessary Poison: Babies, Bibs, and Lead.

Solution: In May 2007, CEH took legal action against the baby bib suppliers, retailers, and producers, resulting in nationwide recalls of the tainted products. In 2008, CEH reached a legal agreement with leading producers of baby bibs for Wal-Mart and Toys R Us/Babies R Us, requiring them to end the lead threat to children.

What You Can Do: Our recent shopping suggests that vinyl baby bibs are no longer widely sold, so it is now relatively easy to find cloth and other safer bib materials. If using plastic baby bibs, look for products labeled “PVC-free.”


Admitting Error, Toys R Us Pulls Bibs, New York Times, August 18, 2007

Some Baby Bibs Said to Contain Levels of Lead, New York Times, August 15, 2007

Marilyn Furer: Working to get the lead out of children’s products, Consumer Reports, June 5, 2007

Wal-Mart Recalls Baby Bibs For Worries Over Lead Content, Wall St Journal, May 6, 2007