When tested with a Niton XL3T XRF instrument in consumer goods mode this blue vinyl unbranded measuring tape (with black writing, pictured here) had the following readings:
On the vinyl part of the tape:
- Barium (Ba): 2,050 +/- 75 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 415 +/- 37 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 87 +/- 31 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 130 +/- 68 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 19,800 +/- 2,200
On the metal “end-caps” of the tape:
- Chromium (Cr): 449 +/- 90 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 7,386 +/- 208 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 983,400 +/- 1,700 ppm
- Cobalt (Co): 3,245 +/- 1,482 ppm
- Manganese (Mn): 4,022 +/- 570 ppm
Metals not listed were not detected, tests results are replicable – tests were done for a minimum of 60 seconds each to confirm the results.
Continue reading (including learning more about modern lead-free options!)
below the image.
From my earlier posts about vintage measuring tapes:
To learn more about XRF testing, Click Here.
Click here to see other vinyl measuring tapes I have tested and their exact XRF test results.
Why is the potential for Lead found in vinyl measuring tapes a problem?
The reason this issue 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!)
Usually when a baby is given one of these to play with – it ends up in the baby’s mouth (as it has the perfect texture for chewing!)
The amount of Lead that is considered unsafe in an item intended for children is anything 90 parts per million (ppm) or higher in the paint or coating or anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate. While this “Made in Taiwan” tape pictured here is a rare exception to the rule, these measuring tapes usually come in at levels far above 90 ppm when tested with an XRF instrument. The vintage vinyl measuring tapes often also test positive for Lead with a reactive agent swab test, which means the Lead is likely available on the surface of the item (not necessarily locked in the substrate as it may be with many hard plastic vintage items – for example.)
What can we do about this? Are there safe modern options?
To see more items I have tested with an XRF instrument, Click Here.
Recently many 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 an Amazon link to the Tyvek ones (now used in many hospitals) – the link is for a pack of 100 tapes.*
Here’s another link to one a friend of mine found (Thank you, Shelley!) … it advertises that it is lead-free/ eco-friendly. I tested this exact product and confirmed that it is in fact lead free and cadmium free (as are other products by this manufacturer!)
Overall Takaway about Vintage Vinyl
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.
To Note: 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.
For more #SaferChoices for your family, click here.
To make a contribution in support of my independent consumer goods testing and lead poisoning prevention advocacy work, click here. Thank you!
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
*Amazon links are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase after clicking one of these links I will receive a small percentage of what you spend, at no extra cost to you! Thank you!
Joyce Hazard says
Vinyl gloves are so widely used and especially in food, beauty and healthcare industries. I was wondering if you have ever tested them for lead.