Yesterday I posted about a Twin Cities Habitat For Humanity promotional coffee mug being positive for high lead paint (with an additional commentary about how disappointed I have been with HFH’s apparent consistent (historic/persistent) organizational disregard for toxicity concerns — constituting a complicity in the potential poisoning of children from the “recycled” old lead-painted architectural components sold to families (without proper warning) through the Habitat ReStore programs across the country).
Today I got the following response – below. [If you haven’t read the original post, click the image below and then come back and read this response.]I shared the original post with the Twin Cities Habitat organization via their Facebook messenger and the letter below is the response I received back in Messenger. I wish every company or organization I have called out on my blog had an equally amazing response! 🙂
May 21, 2019
Thanks for your commentary and inquiry. We asked our ReStore Director, Pete O’Keefe, to respond to your concerns. Below is his response:
Tamara we share your concern for the environment and the health of our neighbors. You are correct that architectural salvage intake can vary considerably from operation to operation, whether a Restore or private vendor. Here at the two Twin Cities ReStore Outlets we are quite strict on rejection of potential lead-based items offered for donation. For example, we politely decline all used windows. We also say “no thanks” to painted doors, furniture, or cabinets (unless newer “factory paint”). We also stopped accepting used faucets back in 2014 due to potential of lead components.
Twin Cities ReStore is part of a statewide recycling program, https://www.paintcare.org/paintcare-states/minnesota/#/everyone, which is free of charge up to five gallons. While rare, we work closely with our County Environmental partners for unusual liquids or environmentally sensitive items that are nefariously left at our doorstep.
More info here, if you’re interested: https://restore.tchabitat.org/hubfs/documents/DEC%202017%20Updated%20ReStore%20Donation%20Guidelines%20One%20Pager.pdf
My entire career has been tied to environmental safety and ethical recycling, a mindset that is now embedded within the entire ReStore Team. Although I have to admit… your coffee cup reference is one we will need to look into with our promotional items vendor. If needing to reach out further, I can be contacted at <email>.
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
Again – what an amazing response. Thanks for being a good human Pete!
Also just in case you (Pete) are reading this… I wanted you to know that the REASON you have high lead paint on your mug is only because it is not regulated in any way. You have not broken any law or standard (unfortunately), and neither has your mug manufacturer! Most mugs are painted with high lead decals or high lead glazes and I have many many many examples on my blog.
I am currently working with a client to try to identify a vendor that manufactures and sells a truly Lead-free promotional mug (both the decal and the glaze – and hopefully the substrate as well.) I will let you know if I find one. If you find one before me – please let me know too!
Thank you (to my readers and to Pete) for being part of this conversation and supporting this important work.
Mother of Lead Poisoned Boys