Stainless steel bottles and cups have become the norm to replace toxic plastics containing BPA. Now we are discovering that since they replaced BPA with fluorene-9-bisphenol, or BHPF or with bisphenol S, or BPS these come with concern as well. See the Timeline: From Invention to Phase-Out by EWG. I would think stainless steel vacuum bottles must be a booming industry since the public is moving away from plastics and most schools will not allow glass water bottles even with the silicone sleeves. Stainless steel bottles are a lightweight, easy to clean and supposedly, healthier alternative. Or are they?
Since my daughter was born, I have been following this blog from Tamara Rubin of MisLEAD for quite some time now, as well her blog in www.mychildrenhaveleadpoisoning.com, learning about the dangers of lead exposure in children’s toys, products and even older household paints. I recently also saw another article by The Natural Baby Mama that directly impacted a product my daughter was using. I never received an email notifying me that they were found to have lead at the base. I then decided to take matters into my own hands, because that is what I am learning on this toxic free journey. We need to be vigilant, aware and find out for ourselves. It doesn’t matter how “crunchy” or toxic-free you think you may be, there are companies we are entrusting to provide quality, safe products and we need to check up on them as consumers and get the word out.
So we gathered up our stainless steel bottles, checked out what the stores had and began our own lead test for #leadsafety. Watch what we came up with….
I want to start by following up with the Planet Box “BottleRocket 11oz Capsule” stainless steel bottle. I have had this bottle since approximately August of 2016. Having been a purchase made online, I do not recall receiving an email from PlanetBox as they have my email for marketing, why would they not email us with the remedy that they proposed on their site HERE? We have been using the bottle up until I found the report from The Natural Baby Mama. Perhaps I missed an email notification that lead was found? Doubtful, but possible, I will give them that. Their lunch boxes have been found to be #leadfree in March of 2017. They provided an encapsulating sphere for their “solder” spots in the bottles. Lead solder is a typical use among manufacturers when making stainless steel insulated bottles. It is meant to help with the forming of the bottle and maintaining the vacuum seal that insulates the bottle. Although I am not completely pleased with how they handled the lead discovery in their products, I will most likely continue to use their “lunch boxes” as they have been tested lead free and there are no solder spots on those products. I would like to give entrepreneur’s who are working for a clean, toxic free life the benefit of another chance before writing them off. But let me be clear, I do not want lead of any sort in on or around my stainless steel bottles or any product for that matter. Period.
This leads me to the next product that came back positive as you will see in my video for lead due to the solder spot: Contigo. I believe I purchased these at Target a while back. I found the size to be handy for young children. Did you notice an important detail in the video? Contigo does not come with any sort of cover or encapsulation for the bottle styles I had in my possession. They are open and exposed. (see photo below) These are still sold in stores at the time of this post and I find no notification or statement from them in regards to uncovering exposed lead. In fact I see a mom politely asked them on their own site about her concerns with lead. (see screenshot). I see no reply to her at all in regards to potential lead in their bottles even though their site shows active feedback and replies from the company for other consumer feedback. As they say…. #sipconfidently ? I say… #throwitout !
According to Title IV of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as well as other authorities in the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, directs EPA to regulate lead-based paint hazards. See a full list of laws HERE and the timeline HERE.
This doesn’t seem to always happen, but in the case of Lead exposure, I am glad that the US Governmental organizations have consistently confirmed together how harmful it is.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences agrees it is harmful. And I quote “No amount of lead is safe.”
National Toxicology Program – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agrees and I quote: “Although reductions in lead exposure for the U.S. population have resulted in lower blood lead levels over time, epidemiological studies continue to provide evidence of health effects at lower and lower blood lead levels.”
What is Lead?
According to the EPA Lead is “a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals causing of health effects.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.“
- Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood.
- Lead in bone is released into blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing fetus.
- There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.
- Lead exposure is preventable.
“WHO has identified lead as 1 of 10 chemicals of major public health concern, needing action by Member States to protect the health of workers, children and women of reproductive age.”
Who is at Risk?
Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Babies and young children can also be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. Children may also be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead, inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint or lead-contaminated soil or from playing with toys with lead paint.
Adults, Including Pregnant Women
Adults may be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead. They may also breathe lead dust by spending time in areas where lead-based paint is deteriorating, and during renovation or repair work that disturbs painted surfaces in older homes and buildings. Working in a job or engaging in hobbies where lead is used, such as making stained glass, can increase exposure as can certain folk remedies containing lead. A pregnant woman’s exposure to lead from these sources is of particular concern because it can result in exposure to her developing baby. Lead can also transfer through breast milk.
The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs. Prevention.
Until recently, children were identified as having a blood lead level of concern if the test result is 10 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. Experts now use a new level based on the U.S. population of children ages 1-5 years who are in the top 2.5% of children when tested for lead in their blood (when compared to children who are exposed to more lead than most children). Currently that is 5 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. The new, lower value means that more children likely will be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials, and communities to take action earlier to reduce the child’s future exposure to lead.
EPA uses the CDC data to show trends on blood lead levels in children in America’s Children and the Environment. The CDC uses surveillance data (yes you read that right) to track lead by state. See where your state fairs on the CDC’s State Surveillance Data
A blood lead test is the best way to measure lead exposure. Children are given a blood test to determine the level of lead in their blood. The amount of lead in blood is referred to as blood lead level (BLL). BLLs are measured in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL).
How much lead is too much?
Now let’s read this part slowly: There is NO known safe BLL. Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health. Millions of children are being exposed to lead in their homes, increasing their risks for:
– damage to the brain and nervous system,
– slowed growth and development,
– learning and behavior problems (e.g., reduced IQ, ADHD, juvenile delinquency, and criminal
– hearing and speech problems.
I found this study published in June 2012 “Toxicity of lead: A review with recent updates” It is well worth the read, but for now I am going to highlight these important details outlined in the section, “Effect on the Nervous System” as I find this particularly eye opening and irrefutable. It sums up the absolute importance of testing our own products, not just water bottles, but household items, toys, cookware, dinnerware, paint, even furniture paint etc and why it is worth the effort…
“…Encephalopathy (a progressive degeneration of certain parts of the brain) is a direct consequence of lead exposure and the major symptoms include dullness, irritability, poor attention span, headache, muscular tremor, loss of memory and hallucinations. More severe manifestations occur at very high exposures and include delirium, lack of coordination, convulsions, paralysis, coma and ataxia (Flora et al., 2006). Fetuses and young children are especially vulnerable to the neurological effects of lead as the developing nervous system absorbs a higher fraction of lead. The proportion of systemically circulating lead gaining access to the brain of children is significantly higher as compared to adults (Needleman et al.,2004). Children may appear inattentive, hyperactive and irritable even at low lead exposure. Children with greater lead levels may be affected with delayed growth, decreased intelligence, short-term memory and hearing loss. At higher levels, lead can cause permanent brain damage and even death (Cleveland et al.,2008). There is evidence suggesting that low level lead exposure significantly affects IQs along with behavior, concentration ability and attentiveness of the child. Repercussions of lead exposure on the peripheral nervous system have also been observed in the form of peripheral neuropathy, involving reduced motor activity due to loss of myelin sheath which insulates the nerves, thus seriously impairing the transduction of nerve impulses, causing muscular weakness, especially of the exterior muscles, fatigue and lack of muscular co-ordination (Sanders et al., 2009)” .
Lastly, if you feel that your child has been exposed to lead, please get them tested. There are very specific protocols for detoxing heavy metals. Please seek out only experienced professionals in this case.
Looking for lead free stainless steel? Watch my video or see the two that passed our test: Klean Kanteen and Seriously Stainless Steel purchased at Whole Foods. I hope you will do some tests yourself as well for ones I did not have the chance to test. 😉
Thank you for reading and let’s continue moving forward towards a toxic free future!
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