Introduction (for those new to this website):
Tamara Rubin is a federal-award-winning independent advocate for consumer goods safety and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children, her sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in 2005. Since 2009 Tamara has been using XRF testing (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants (specifically heavy metals), including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Antimony, and Arsenic. All test results reported on this website are science-based, accurate, and replicable. Items are tested multiple times, to confirm the test results for each component. Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023.
First, here is a PDF of Lansinoh’s original email to me.
Here’s my response, including some point-by-point responses within the text of her original email:
Date: Sunday, February 27, 2022
Time: 4:24 p.m. PST
Subject: Re: Lansinoh – Glass bottles reference removal request
It has taken me a few days to respond to you about this matter, because I have so many layers of what I want to say in response, that I wanted to be sure to be coherent and polite (and civil)…in spite of my outrage — outrage both with the initial actions of your company (the fact that you would choose to use Lead paint on your glass baby bottles), and outrage also over your reaction to my discovery through XRF analysis, of that fact, and the publication of those findings on my website (I.e. your dismissive / disrespectful e-mail to me, asking me to remove a reference to your company with no actual basis for that request and no apparent attempt at understanding the concern).
Your e-mail (below) appears to:
- represent an effort to defend the use of Lead paint on your baby bottles (whether through ignorance or intention) and
- demonstrate your complete lack of understanding of the issue — which could result only from the fact that you apparently did not bother to read the post* from which you are asking me to remove the Lansinoh reference [*and did not bother to read any of the linked information within that post, either].
The post that you are asking me to remove a reference to your product from is my SUMMARY POST discussing all of the glass baby bottles tested by Lead Safe Mama, LLC in 2021 – with various designs / from two manufacturers [Lansinoh and NUK] – that tested positive for high levels of Lead in the paint.
The post clearly describes:
- who we are and
- our testing methodology and
- the background of the concern and
- acknowledges the fact that current U.S. Federal standards (and international standards) apparently ALLOW for Lead paint on the exterior of baby bottles(!)
I don’t want to take the time to reiterate all of the points mentioned in the post. I will instead invite you to READ the post (along with the initial post I wrote, in which I published the exact findings for the Lansinoh glass baby bottles):
Post 1: Initial findings of Lead paint on Lansinoh bottles
Post 2: Summary email sent to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in December 2021
I will separately ask that you read my third post (written in response to your e-mail to me last week), which summarizes the “story” behind your e-mail for my readers and includes a screenshot of your e-mail for my readers to read, as well.
Post 3: Summary discussing Lansinoh from February 2022
That you would ask me to remove a reference to your products and your company from a post that was used as background for a complaint to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (in response to our findings of Lead paint on your glass baby bottles) is, again, frankly outrageous.
The appropriate response would be to reformulate your paint so it does not test positive for high levels of Lead, and send us a communication thanking the Lead Safe Mama, LLC team for our work in bringing your attention to this issue and promising (publicly) to your customers to never to sell Lead-painted baby bottles again (and ideally issuing a voluntary recall for all known batches of Lead painted baby bottles that you have sold to date).
Instead, your letter to me (below) – by not acknowledging the problem – appears to defend your use of Lead paint on your bottles (by stating that you don’t understand what the problem is, given your bottles “comply with all regulatory standards”).
The fact that your bottles comply with regulatory standards is – in this context – irrelevant.
Your bottles are painted with Lead paint — and we (as citizen activists) are at work asking for changes to the current regulatory standards, and the removal of the loophole that can allow for baby feeding products to be painted with Lead paint!
In doing a little research into your company, I was separately outraged that you would use your founder’s good name and status as a breastfeeding mother (from Portland, like myself) to somehow attempt to add credibility to your company (implying that your products are therefore somehow more healthful and better and higher-quality – when they are, in fact, currently painted with Lead paint).
I have attempted to contact your founder about this (as I expect she would be very upset to learn that the bottles attached to her legacy are painted with Lead paint); I have not yet heard back from her.
Of special interest (that I would especially like to draw your attention to), is that unlike with many other brands – where Lead Safe Mama, LLC was the first to discover their bottles were painted with Lead paint – our work is NOT the first testing of Lansinoh baby bottles that has found that they are painted with Lead paint (an earlier study which was brought to my attention – from Germany, also from 2021 – that noted this concern is attached – and linked here).
The potential for harm from Lead paint on the outside of glassware has ALSO been studied, and that research study is also clearly linked in the post that you asked me to remove the Lansinoh reference from.
PLEASE read things – and make sure you understand them – before you ask a journalist and activist to remove FACTS from her website!
I would also like to note that your approach to this concern has doubly backfired, in that – instead of removing the reference to Lansinoh from the Lead Safe Mama website, I created more posts referencing the Lead paint on your bottles (specifically I created a post sharing your original email to me AND I created a post linking the German study showing the Lead paint on your bottles.)
The “double” part of that comes from the fact that in researching your company I learned that your parent company is Pigeon (and that Pigeon bought Lansinoh in 2004). I created a graphic with this information (included on the post #3 noted above and shared on social media) and that raised a question from Lead Safe Mama readers about whether or not Pigeon-branded bottles are also painted with Lead paint.
I had never heard of Pigeon baby bottles, however in response to that concern I did immediately [purchase] and test a Pigeon-branded bottle and confirmed that – in fact – it is also painted with Lead paint (which not only has unsafe levels of Lead but also has unsafe levels of Cadmium)… so this “problem” with your company’s manufacturing (and specifically with your coatings choices) goes beyond the Lansinoh brand and is inclusive of Pigeon-branded products sold in the United States (via Amazon) in 2022.
A few additional point-by-point responses are noted in the body of your e-mail, below.
Thank you, in advance, for actually taking the time to READ what I have written this time.
A Mother from Portland, Oregon
Who breastfed her children here in Portland for nearly a decade (and did not use ANY Lead-painted Lansinoh bottles).
And, who is fairly outraged that you would invoke the spirit of nursing mothers from Portland, Oregon in #Greenwashing efforts to sell your Lead-painted baby bottles!
Lindsay’s original email with my additional responses in the body of the e-mail (her parts are in blue and mine are in pink):
On Feb 24, 2022, at 6:59 AM, Lindsay Ewers <email@example.com> wrote:
Hello Ms. Rubin,
We have received inquiries regarding the below noted article.
Great! I am glad readers are upset enough to contact you about this issue. Lead painted baby bottles should not be legal in 2021/2022.
Our manufacturing company has conducted testing to ensure that our bottles comply with both US and EU regulations regarding drinking equipment for young children during the development of the products. In addition we recently conducted testing in January 2022 to verify our previous findings.
Regulatory standards currently ALLOW for Lead-painted exterior markings on baby bottles. That is the problem. This does not make it okay. It (obviously) should be illegal — and we are trying to bring attention to the issue so that it does become illegal to paint on glass baby bottles with Lead paint. Given your “natural”-focused advertising campaign, the fact that you are justifying the Lead paint on the exterior of your bottles by stating that you “comply with current regulatory standards” amounts to greenwashing bullshit.
Our glass bottles have been tested by a CPSC approved 3rd party safety assessor and exceed the minimum requirements regarding child use and care articles in both the US and the EU, to include:
- EN 14350:2020 Children’s and Care Products – Drinking Equipment – Safety Requirements and Testing Methods
- (EU) No 10/2011 Commission Regulation on Plastic Materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and its amending directive (EU) 2020/1245, and Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004 of the European Parliament on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food
- Res AP(2004) Resolution on silicone used for food contact applications, and Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 of the European Parliament on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food
- US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) with amendment (H.R. 2715)
Again – given that we are talking about BABY BOTTLES WITH LEAD – PAINT ON THEM your “compliance with current standards” is irrelevant. Your bottles are still painted with Lead paint — and what we are trying to bring attention to is that regulatory standards ALLOW this, when they absolutely should not.
As a company founded by a breastfeeding mother, we understand the importance of caring for young children and strive to create products that are safe for both moms and babies.
Obviously, this is more bullshit. When Pigeon bought the company in 2004, they likely changed manufacturing processes or implemented new manufacturing processes that resulted in your producing Lead-painted baby bottles. If you really care about young children and want to create products that are safe, your response to this information (that your glass bottles are painted with Lead paint) would have been completely different. I have reached out to the founder of your company (as I am also a mother from Portland, Oregon who breastfed babies for more than decade) to see what her response might be to the fact that the bottles you sell (with the branding of the company she created) are painted with Lead paint, and what her response might be to the fact that you are trying to hide behind ridiculously-flawed regulatory standards (which are insufficient and irrelevant) to justify the use of Lead paint on your glass baby bottles.
We would like to understand the test protocols and methods used to attain your noted results, as published in the article.
Then you should have read the actual post that you are asking me to remove the Lansinoh reference from. Please read that post and all of the posts associated with it on the Lead Safe Mama website.
Additionally, we would like to request that the refence to Lansinoh be removed from the article.
Nope, not gonna happen — because your bottles are painted with Lead paint and the statements on my website are factual and based in science.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if I may provide any additional information to facilitate this request.
I have one major question: Why are you continuing to paint your glass baby bottles with Lead paint?
Second question: Why are you hiding behind regulatory standards to justify that you paint your glass baby bottles with Lead paint?
Third question: When are you going to remove the Lead paint from your glass baby bottles?
Fourth question: Will you issue a voluntary recall for all of your past products that are painted with Lead paint?
Fifth question: Will you offer refunds (and/or exchanges) to all of the people who bought your bottles not knowing they were painted with Lead paint?
Separately, I want to note that I find it patently offensive that a company that paints their baby bottles with Lead paint has a signature graphic [“Climate Neutral by 2030”] that implies a commitment to environmental responsibility.
Program Director, North American QA/RA
Lansinoh Laboratories, Inc. | Alexandria, VA