Measuring Tape – Soft Plastic, Made in China.
When tested with a Niton XRF instrument it was positive for Lead with the following reading: 19,900 parts per million (ppm).
To learn more about XRF testing, Click Here.
Later I thought to test this same item with a LeadCheck swab just for fun [to see if such a high level in a vinyl product would trigger a positive reading even with an inexpensive chemical reagent-based swab test kit normally intended exclusively for testing paint] and the measuring tape turned the swab bright pink immediately! (see the second photo below.)
The reason this is truly concerning for me is because so many doctors give these to babies to play with when they are visiting the doctor office for their various checkups (and having their head circumference and other parts measured!) The amount of Lead that is considered unsafe in an item intended for children is anything 90 parts per million or higher in the paint or coating or anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate.
To see more items I have tested with an XRF instrument, Click Here.
Recently some doctors have switched to Tyvek style measuring tapes (not the heavier duty vinyl tapes like this one), which I have not yet tested for lead, but I think (educated guess) these are likely to be lead free (they are advertised as non-toxic and used by hospitals.)
I have had lots of conversations about this online with my friends, fans and followers and there seem to be quite a few alternatives that are likely also lead-free… including uncoated cotton fabric ones and paper ones (as well as the tyvek style ones noted above.) I was not able to find the fabric or paper ones on Amazon, but I believe many sewing specialty stores carry them.
Here’s another link to one a friend of mine found (Thank you, Shelley!) … it advertises that it is lead-free/ eco-friendly. UPDATE: I tested this exact product and confirmed that it is in fact lead free and cadmium free (as are other products by this manufacturer!)
TIP: Items made for use by adults should not be given to babies to play with! Vinyl may or may not be leaded, so (in general) vintage vinyl items should be avoided and vinyl items should never be given to children to play with, especially children who might put these items in their mouths.
FYI: We have new vinyl windows that we had installed in our home in April of 2007. These are lead-free (as tested with an XRF), showing that not all vinyl contains lead, but again – it’s hard for most consumers to know.
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