Lead & Lunch

So one day I realized my daughter’s apple was rolling around in a lead-containing vinyl-lined lunch box! Thinking about avoiding plastics and vinyl I came across the topic. Studies have found that not only do vinyl lunch boxes contain chemicals, but they may also contain lead…and there is no way to tell just by looking at it.

“The level of lead in one lunch box, an Angela Anaconda box made by Targus International, tested at 56,400 parts per million (ppm) of lead, more than 90 times the 600 ppm legal limit for lead paint in children’s products” ( No level of lead is known to be safe for children and can cause behavioral and developmental problems. I wrote to the company on the tag of our vinyl-lined picnic bag.

They e-mailed back that yes, safety standards have changed and their product does contain some lead. They said that as long as I containerize my food and wash hands after touching the bag I should be fine. Oh, no doesn’t sound good to me. Many of the lunch boxes tested did not contain lead, but unless you test the bag with test strips found at a hardware store or buy a bag that specifically states it is free of harmful chemicals you have no idea what you are packing along with your child for lunch.

Crocodile Creek makes some great kids’ lunch boxes, with all sorts of themed choices, free of all the bad stuff. I pack one of these up with some BPA-free plastic containers and my child goes to school with a cloth napkin for a waste-free lunch.

More recently I have decided to try my best to avoid all plastics. Even plastic containers marked BPA-free have chemicals. They have exchanged BPA for BPS and it is no better. Stainless steel lunch containers are a much better choice.

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