In spite of recent regulatory actions to remove Lead from personal Fireworks, all Pop-Its® I have ever tested have been positive for at least some amount of Lead, in one or more tests using an XRF Instrument.
Even though the amount of Lead found in these Pop-Its may be perceived as “small” or “insignificant”, all regulatory agencies (FDA, CDC, EPA, etc.) agree that there is no safe level of Lead exposure for children.
The product also has a specific warning on the package (see image below) that they are “not a toy and not intended for use by children under the age of 12 years old”.(Please continue reading below the image.)
I had thought/expected that newer Pop-Its® might be Lead-free, and this year bought two separate sets at two different stores for testing. In the past I have allowed my children to play them, as they were used by throwing them on the ground, and my perception was that they were not touched / interacted with very much, and did not create smoke (and of course, I always made my children wash their hands thoroughly after use.)
Unfortunately, yesterday I saw my son doing something he had “seen on YouTube” – that absolutely horrified me: he was snapping them in his fingers for the purpose of recording a video in order to capture & create the still image below (continue reading below the video and photo)!:
First the very short video (Note: you may need to have your pop-up blocker turned off to watch the video), and below is the resultant photo (the reason he did the experiment):
As a result of these test results (along with the unexpected use by my older son when I was not paying attention!), I will no longer be purchasing these for my children to use.
At 17 ppm Lead, not only are they a potential dust/inhalation hazard, but they are also a potential ingestion hazard — think about the following scenario: kid plays with Pop-its® at 4th of July picnic; kid does not wash hands; kid goes to get a hot dog or potato chips from picnic table…kid eats food and licks his fingers.< #Sigh>. Definitely a potential ingestion hazard at this point — especially when you consider that ingested Lead is considered toxic in measurements in the Parts Per Billion (ppb) range, not the Parts Per Million (ppm) range – and 17 ppm is equal to 17,000 ppb!
Exact Readings For The Pop-Its Pictured In This Post
The Pop-Its pictured here had the following XRF readings when tested for a minimum of 180 seconds.
Reading Set One:
- Lead (Pb): 17 +/- 4 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 2,359 +/- 135 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 40 +/- 13 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 2,087 +/- 57 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 34 +/- 6 ppm
Reading Set Two:
- Lead (Pb): 9 +/- 4 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 1,792 +/- 158 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 23 +/- 14 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 2,003 +/- 62 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 22 +/- 6 ppm
While not every reading of the Pop-Its® pictured here showed a detectable amount of Lead, most certainly did. The variation in the readings is indicative of the Lead found being a dust hazard, likely from contaminants of the “explosive” Barium-based components of the product (especially given the intended use / function / design of the product). XRF readings are accurate, science based and replicable. Each reading set above is the full metals set found with the XRF. Metals not listed were not detected by the XRF in Consumer Goods mode.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
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