For those new to this website:
Tamara Rubin is a multiple-Federal-award-winning independent advocate for childhood Lead-poisoning prevention and consumer goods safety, and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children (two of her sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in 2005). Since 2009, Tamara has been using XRF technology (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 tested. Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023 (March 2023 print edition).
May 6, 2023 — Saturday
Folks online have been admiring my son Charlie’s wardrobe (in reaction to recent photos I have shared from our trip abroad), so I thought I would share some specifics. Charlie would just LOVE to be considered a “fashion influencer” 😉 — in fact, he has a dream of someday creating his own fashion line (of colorful, playful, fun, bright, well-tailored clothes for taller men!) since he can never find the clothes he likes in his size (he loves pink and glitter and is almost 6 ft. 2 in. tall at just 14-years-old!).
From a Lead perspective…
In general, I focus on getting natural fiber clothing for my kids — mostly cotton (and sometimes linen when possible). However, given Charlie’s fashion “requirements,” we have been branching out into other types of fabrics to augment his otherwise almost 100% cotton wardrobe! In spite of the Shein Lead in children’s clothing recalls over the past couple of years, I don’t generally have any concern for Lead in modern fabric clothing. The Shein recalls are examples of rare exceptions, not the rule. Vintage clothing can, however, have all sorts of “fun” toxicants (Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic, and even Mercury!), so avoiding vintage is a good idea if the vintage is not made of natural fibers. Also avoid vintage Leather (for Lead concerns) and vintage felted wool, as it can test positive for very high levels of Mercury. Check out this example!
Quick Guide for Clothing to Avoid for Children:
- Avoid vintage leather
- Avoid vintage vinyl
- Avoid vintage clothing with metal elements like buckles or other metal trim
- Avoid vintage felted wool (Mercury concerns)
- Avoid adorned or decorated (embellished) vintage clothing from India, Pakistan, or Mexico, especially any that may have beads or sequins.
- Note: vintage buttons (metal, glass, crystal, plastic, ceramic — all materials EXCEPT stone and shell) can be very high in Lead or other toxicants. Vintage snaps are generally Lead-free. Vintage buckles can often test positive for Lead, Antimony, Mercury and/or Cadmium in varying amounts (some vintage belt buckles are nearly 100% Lead!)
Quick Guide for Clothing to Choose for Children
- Choose vintage or modern natural cotton clothing
- Choose vintage or modern natural silk clothing
- Choose vintage or modern natural linen clothing
- Choose (but limit if possible for other environmental considerations) modern Vinyl or Leather specifically made for use by children (clothes made by major brands in the United States should be Lead-free)
- Choose any modern clothing made by brand names with brick-and-mortar locations in the United States (Old Navy, Gap, Target, etc.)
- Note: modern snaps and buttons are Lead-free 99.9999% of the time (with rare exceptions)
Here’s a quick rundown of Charlie’s outfits shown on this page!
Outfit #1) With the Alien Monster
- Pink cotton “New York” T-shirt, purchased several years ago at a rest stop on the interstate in New Jersey (!)
- Sesame Street jammie pants with Big Bird (Amazon) — here’s the link: https://amzn.to/42bzUxM
- Rainbow Swatch Watch (purchased at the Swatch store in Times Square): https://amzn.to/42btdMo
- Necklace with leather string and cactus cartoon charm purchased at a tiny store in Granada, Spain for a Euro (!)
- New Hoka Sneakers (lucky kid!) — doc recommended this brand for stability after he twisted his ankle several times last year: https://amzn.to/41fNRtk
Outfit #2) With the Don Quixote
- Cotton “Love For All, All For Love” T-shirt — Old Navy (online)
- Sesame Street Cookie Monster Jammie pants (Amazon) — here’s the link: https://amzn.to/3HMIg77
- Blue lamé page cap — local Portland thrift store purchase ($10!)
Outfit #3) The Tie-Dye Ensemble
- Rainbow tie-dye cotton “Wolfeboro” T-shirt, purchased at a grocery store in Wolfeboro, NH early in the pandemic
- Rainbow “Tie Dye” print jammie pants — here’s the link: https://amzn.to/3M1s8AV
- Rainbow Swatch Watch (all modern examples from this brand are Lead-free, but avoid vintage swatches and crystals): https://amzn.to/42btdMo
- Twirly Propeller Baseball Cap (handmade and sold by Interstellar Propeller in Berkeley, California, but also available online): https://amzn.to/3phDXdx
- Black water socks (Amazon) — here’s the link: https://amzn.to/3pk6jDN
I am sure Charlie would love to read your feedback on his fashion choices! Please leave comments on this post and I will be sure to show them to him!
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