October 31, 2020 – Saturday
Tonight (at 10:49 East Coast Time) a reader contacted me with the following message (continue reading below the image):My reader and I had a bit of a follow-up conversation via Facebook messenger – as I do with so many of my readers! I was not at all surprised to see this, of course. This is one of the most common issues with stainless steel insulated food or beverage containers. I have been writing about it for years (maybe 6 years now), and even have a post specifically discussing the Leaded sealing dots found on the bottoms of this sort of insulated stainless container – link here.
As soon as my reader told me the brand name of the product (and shared their website with me), I immediately e-mailed the company (Paulie Jar) via their website contact form. I told them I believe the findings of Lead in this product is likely a Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) violation – since they were clearly marketing the product for use by children (see screenshots below), and the product clearly has Lead in the exterior (accessible) components of the product.
Update: after publishing this blog post I also reported this as a potential violation to the Consumer Product Safety Commission – sharing the link to this post with them.
Continue reading below the images from the Paulie Jar website and Amazon listings:
This is a product image from Paulie Jar – with stickers, colored pencils and a food pouch, clearly demonstrating that is is intended to be used by children.
This is an image of a screenshot from Paulie Jar’s website stating that it is a product to be used by the family – specifically as a non-toxic solution for their kiddo’s lunches.
Below is the Amazon listing for the products stating that it is “great for everyone” and “great for the whole family” – their additional images also are engaging in a way that implies they are good for children to use.
On top of this (the language that makes it clear they are marketing it as a product to be used by children), all of the language about these products emphasizes that it is a greener choice and better for the environment! Below are two additional screenshots from their website:
A “non-toxic” (“lead-free”) offering from “The Mighty Nest”
My reader then told me that she purchased this Paulie Jar via the “Mighty Nest” website (she shared her receipt with me – which I requested, so I could write this post with confidence). The Mighty Nest receipt was from just 11 days ago – 10/20/20.
I was, again, not at all surprised – as this is not the first time that Mighty Nest has recommended a product (or a category of product) that I have expressly cautioned my readers about because it had known or suspected unsafe levels of Lead in one or more components. [If I recall correctly, one other Leaded product that Mighty Nest was selling was the insulated Pura Kiki stainless baby bottles, and – thankfully – it looks like they no longer offer those on their site — although in reviewing their current offerings this evening, I see a few other items that they sell that likely do have Lead.]
The disappointing thing is – of course – that both companies (Paulie Jar as a manufacturer, and Mighty Nest as a vendor) are guilty of the worst form of greenwashing. They are using buzzwords and their reputations to assure customers (usually mothers with young children wanting to do better for their families) that the products that they are selling are somehow “safer” for their customers’ families, and claiming that they are “greener” alternatives — without doing the rigorous/complete due diligence to make sure the products truly are completely safe, Lead-free, and non-toxic across the board.
Mighty Nest also clearly states in their pledge to customers that products sold on their site are Lead-free, and that Mighty Nest does the research for the customer so the customer doesn’t have to:
Continue reading below the images.
Thankfully, in this case at least, Mighty Nest appears to have immediately removed the Leaded “Paulie Jars” from their offerings as soon as my reader contacted them to let them know it tested positive for Lead. In my opinion they also should have immediately put a banner up on their home page alerting their readers to the concern for this toxic product, along with a statement that they have taken immediate action and discontinued selling that product. They did not do that.
However, at least one image of the jars in question can still be seen on their blog (screenshot below – continue reading below the image.)
The next thing for both the Mighty Nest and Paulie Jar to do (if they are truly responsible companies concerned with the health and well-being of their customers) would be to issue a statement on their respective websites (bold and up front, on their home pages) about the findings of Lead in these products.
For the Mighty Nest, the statement should clearly state that they unknowingly sold something with Lead because they did not do their own testing [which – unfortunately – calls into question their “screening process” noted in their pledge, see screenshot below] and they trusted the manufacturer of the product [which frankly they should not be doing, given the weight their recommendations carry in the community of mothers looking for greener choices for their children!] to provide a Lead-free product and the vendor misled them – selling them a product containing Lead.
Both companies should then also e-mail everyone who purchased their product and offer them a refund or – better yet – a replacement with a Lead-free similar product. [Note: the only brand of insulated stainless water bottles that I know to be consistently Lead-free in all iterations is HydroFlask.]
Mighty Nest – an invitation to you..
Dear Mighty Nest,
This is not the first time this has happened (not the first time one of my readers told me that you were selling products that have tested positive for Lead), but this is the first time I am writing it up on my blog (which I am doing now specifically because this is not the first time this has happened!)
I invite you to follow my blog more closely — and hey, maybe even consider consulting with an expert who knows about this sort of thing (!) to advise you on some of your choices for items you sell via your website (to help you avoid these kind of potentially-costly blunders in the future!)
You truly have too much to lose to make this kind of mistake, and you owe it to your customers to do better. Don’t blithely take the word of companies when they say they are manufacturing something that is Lead-free, instead work with qualified experts to make sure this sort of thing never happens again …k?
Mighty Nest Pledge (screenshot from their website, 10/30/2020)
As always, thank you for reading and thank you for sharing these posts. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them personally (as soon as I have a moment!)
Tamara, I thank god for you. I am much more educated on lead after reading your blog and consulting with you over the phone. I truly appreciate all that you do. I wish there were more people taking this seriously and more people doing the work you do. I believe you are saving children from being poisoned everyday. Lead should be banned in every product not just house paint. To be honest I still do not understand why our government is allowing any lead in products for children or adults. At the end of the day, our children are exposed to the items we use as they live with us. Just because something is marketed for children should not be the only reason there is a maximum lead level. I am so upset over this to the point I question everything now. As consumers we should not have to send items out to labs to be tested to see if our children will be poisoned. I will continue to support you and your work. We all need to do more to bring awareness and make change!
Thank you for the important work you do. We really appreciate our customer and you for bringing the Paulie Jar issue to our attention. I wanted to reach out directly to let you know that we are diving in to address the issue. We have removed this product from our site, and are working with the manufacturer to validate how this happened.
Before we carry any product, we always work with our manufacturing partners to validate that it is free of any concerning chemicals, including lead. We take the ingredients and materials our products are made from very seriously, and will notify all of our customers who have purchased this product once we have gathered all of the facts from the manufacturer. We will also be revisiting our internal processes as necessary based on what we learn.
Thank you again for sharing this with us. We will keep you informed as we know more.
Kenneth Stailey says
This reminds me of a little story that my mother used to read to me at bedtime.
Potential essentiality of lead
Klaus Schwarz ; Laboratory of Experimental Metabolic Diseases, Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, California, 90822, and Department of Biological Chemistry School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California
Toxicity cannot be used as an argument against the possibility that an element may be essential, An attempt to determine whether or not lead is essential is therefore being made in our laboratory, using a technique which has been successful in several other cases (tin, vanadium, fluorine, silicon). It consists of the application of ultraclean, more or less trace-element sterile (but not bacteriologically sterile) isolators, and highly purified amino acid diets. All compounds tested are added to the diet. Young rats maintained in the trace-element isolator system develop deficiencies when unidentified essential trace elements are missing from the diet, the most important symptom being lack of growth. Other signs are shagginess of the fur, seborrhea, lack of incisor pigmentation, etc. In order to work with lead, an air filter system has also been developed which removes not only dust particles, but also aerosols and substances present as vapors.
The basal diet contains 53 individual components (21 amino acids, 13 vitamins, sucrose, 2 fats, 3 salts and 13 trace element compounds). It was difficult to obtain all of these in lead-free form and monitor their lead content. Special problems were encountered with calcium phosphate, certain amino acids and the fats. The basal diet contains approximately 0.2 ppm of the element.
In 13 successive experiments, carried out in 1972/73, growth responses were seen when 1.0—2.5 ppm of lead in the form of lead sub-acetate was added to this ration. The growth effects were the statistically highly significant, even though they amounted on the aver age to an increase of less than 20%. Not only lead subacetate but also lead oxide and lead nitrate produced this response. In extended trials aimed at amplifying these initial data we were at first unable to repeat the results. Screening of possible sources of lead in the system showed that extreme caution was indicated, The lead content of plastic bags, used for storing diets, varied greatly, and a labeling tape used for numbering of diets and animal cages contained 0.56%/0 (56000 ppm) of the element. Elimination of these potential sources of lead, and continuous monitoring of all plastic components was necessary for the demonstration of the growth promoting effect. Our data now indicate that the tentative lead requirement of the rat under these experimental conditions at approximately 1 ppm of the diet, an amount that is readily supplied by normal foodstuffs. [At this point I had fallen asleep or maybe passed out, who knows. If you go to the link at the top you can find the page which has a PDF of all 16 pages]
You crack me up! Can you summarize your thoughts on this in lay terms for people checking in here?
Kenneth Stailey says
In 1958, the Lead Industries Association (LIA) and the American Zinc Institute founded an organization to suppress information about the dangers of lead poisoning, the International Lead Zinc Research Organization (ILZRO). In 2002, the Lead Industries Association of Sparta, NJ went bankrupt and defunct citing that they were unable to get insurance to cover the litigation against them. In 2020 the ILZRO is still operating. How many people have even heard of the ILZRO?
The ILZRO is still in business despite trying to convince people that lead was an essential nutrient. If I went around suggesting to people that it would be healthy if they ate poison I’d be arrested but for some reason the world is OK with the ILZRO telling people that lead is an essential nutrient. A 1973 memo from Philip E. Robinson, Executive Vice President of the ILZRO, “Minutes – ILZRO/MDA Joint World Committee” states that “Dr. [Jerome] Cole [president of ILZRO] hoped that Dr. Schwarz’s report to the EPA showing that lead was an essential trace element for the growth of laboratory animals might help the metal’s image…”.
I have some evidence that the ILZRO was still citing Schwarz’s work in 1991 but I have not fully researched that.
The ILZRO which has offices in North Carolina is still in business despite the overwhelming evidence that they were actively working to suppress information about the dangers of lead poison when NBC TV had a show discussing how zoo animals and children were being harmed. The transcript of that NBC TV show has been recorded in the US Congressional record. Internal memos show the ILZRO wanted to people to believe that 500 ppm of lead in the soil of a zoo was harmless, that children were not being harmed by lead in gasoline, etc.
In 1968 the ILZRO went around buying expensive sports cars like a Lamborghini Miura £250,000 (over four million pounds adjusted for inflation, maybe five million dollars more-or-less. They bought their cars using money that they were paid for causing animals and children to be poisoned with lead.
The ILZRO was the first to have a completely inclusive house for people with disabilities, the “ILZRO House”. Problem is it was made with so much lead that it caused disabilities. The ILZRO didn’t stop at lead paint, they made a house of lead and wrote about how awesome it was?
OMG! Amazing information, as always! I was wondering if you might want to be a guest on my video series! Do you have 20 minutes (or longer) to do an interview with me via Zoom? Let me know. Also VERY INTERESTING about the North Carolina connection! I have not been able to get approved in North Carolina for outreach events doing consumer goods testing (too many hoops to jump through)… I wonder if that is (in whole or in part) because of that agency’s influence on legislation related to Lead and Lead testing in that state. I learned when I was there recently that they are one of the only states (if not THE ONLY state) that actually has Lead testing limitations written in to their legislation – which is why it is impossible for them to make exceptions for (for example) a consumer goods testing outreach event!
As always – thank you for your wealth of knowledge!
Kenneth Stailey says
Thanks Tamara but certain things aren’t meant to be. If I wanted to be on video, I’d have a channel by now.
I do appreciate hearing that it is hard for good people like you to get approved in North Carolina for outreach events doing consumer goods testing.
I be that a lot of horrible stuff happens in North Carolina. I should spend more time studying it.