The New York Times reports that the Center for Environmental Health, a California-based group, has found lead in a cooler designed to store nursing mothers’ breast milk — echoing a concern we wrote about in November.

The Times says:

The Center for Environmental Health, the group that did the tests, purchased the products in January and tested them first with a hand-held metal detector and then at a laboratory. The products were found to have from 1,100 parts per million of lead to 5,500 parts per million of lead, the group says.

[T]he findings are bound to be criticized within the plastics and children’s products industries, which claim that lead in plastic is not a health concern. Federal law bans lead from paint used on toys and other children’s products, but there is no mandatory federal rule about lead inside other materials in children’s products.

Legislators are considering new laws about product safety, and one provision in the proposed law would put a limit on the total amount of lead that could be in children’s products, no matter the materials. If enacted, that limit might forbid lead in plastic at the levels found by the California group. The group contends that no level of lead is safe in children’s products.

Among the products with lead present, the group said, was a Medela-brand cooler for storing breast milk. We wrote about the Switzerland-based company’s products in November. I heard today from Laura Benson, the subject of that story, and she had this to say about her communication with Medela:

I just talked again with Mr. (Carr Lane) Quackenbush, Medela’s president, who assured me they are going to great lengths to get lead-free products from their manufacturers and that he hates the issues and it “keeps him up at night.” His goal is to eliminate vinyl from their products altogether. Of course, he still won’t commit to alerting customers that their products contain lead.

ROB DAVIS

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