#LeadSafe: 2017 Walgreens Ceramic Christmas “Not Intended For Children” Santa Claus Mug (but Cadmium!)

This 2017 Santa Mug (which I personally purchased last holiday season from Walgreens in Milwaukie, Oregon, once I saw the label on the bottom – scroll down to see the pic!) was positive for lead and cadmium in the following levels:

Red Glaze:
Lead (Pb): 122 +/- 54 ppm
Cadmium (Cd): 1,657 +/- 105 ppm

White Glaze
ND (non-detect/ negative) for all: Lead (Pb), Arsenic (As), Mercury (Hg) and Cadmium (Cd).

Tested with an XRF instrument for a minimum of 30 seconds (in consumer goods mode). Multiple tests done to confirm levels.

By modern standards, the amount of lead that is considered toxic in an item intended to be used by children is 90 ppm lead (or higher) in the glaze or coating and 100 ppm lead (or higher) in the substrate (in the case of mugs, the ceramic.) Cadmium is considered toxic for children at/above 75 ppm (depending on what standard you look at, sometimes it is considered toxic at/above 40 ppm.)

The cadmium level in the red glaze is most likely why this item is labeled: “Not Intended For Children.”

Walgreens, here is a question for you… Once that label is ripped of the bottom (or washed off the bottom) what mama wouldn’t use this to give her child hot chocolate?  Your labeling is deceptive on an item like this that is clearly in the shape of a holiday icon for children and will be used by children, regardless of what the label says!

Prior to testing this Walgreens branded mug I used to say that I trust Walgreens toy selection to be non-toxic. I had never once tested an item intended for children from their stores that was positive for lead AND I often buy toys there for my children (as inexpensive rewards especially.)

At one point I even spoke to one of their executives at a Phish concert (!) and he confirmed that they had a strict policy on toxicants in their products, especially their products intended for children. I am now no longer 100% confident about their product selection, as it is crossing a fine line when a company will hide behind labeling standards to cover up toxicants that have been determined to not be safe for children (especially on an item that will clearly be used by children, now and for decades into the future!)

I will be following up with Walgreens about this a.s.a.p. (I think I might still have that executive’s email address somewhere!) I do expect that when they are made aware of this issue they will remove products like this from their shelves. In general Walgreens is a good company when it comes to things like this.

If you would like to see more posts like this, please consider making a contribution in support of my independent consumer goods testing and childhood lead poisoning prevention advocacy work. Any amount is welcome and you can chip-in here. Thank you!

2017 Walgreens Ceramic Christmas "Not Intended For Children" Santa Claus Mug (but Cadmium!) 2017 Walgreens Ceramic Christmas "Not Intended For Children" Santa Claus Mug (but Cadmium!) 2017 Walgreens Ceramic Christmas "Not Intended For Children" Santa Claus Mug (but Cadmium!)

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