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RE: Lead in gardening equipment
The warning on hand-washing, etc. is driven by California's Prop 65 - the
law that requires a product to be labeled with a warning to the consumer
if it contains a carcinogen or reproductive toxin. Many lawsuits by
NGOs have focused on lead - in metal products, glazes, pigments,
ceramics, PVC, etc. Recent high profile cases are with lead in
children's jewelry and vinyl lunch bags/boxes. They have also
focused on PVC garden hoses (I wasn't sure if you were talking about just
the wand or the hose as well). As in that case, they will typically
settle with a manufacturer or distributor or group of them, with the
result being a threshold of lead content above which the mfr/dist will
agree to label the product with a warning. Most mfrs will
reformulate the product so that they don't have to label.
Products coming in from Asia often have Prop 65 warning labels, but US
mfrs tell us that the Asian mfr may not understand the requirements and
may slap a label on all products just to be safe or because they think
it's supposed to be there (they claim that the same thing happens with UL
Below is a press release from the NGO that brought suit for lead in
P.S., Scott, nothing screams "fashionista" like blue eyes,
yellow sunflowers and a purple watering wand!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 9, 2004
Lawsuit Wins Protection for Children from Lead Risks in Garden
San Francisco A California court signed a final settlement late last
week in cases brought by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH)
against makers of garden hoses. Under Californias toxics law Proposition
65, CEH sued the producers for hoses that leach lead into water, a
potential hazard especially for children who drink from hoses or play in
hose spray. Lead can cause brain damage and irreversible developmental
problems in children.
The companies that settled include the countrys largest producer and
distributor of garden hoses, the Ridgefield N.J.-based Tekni-Plex
company, maker of Colorite Waterworks brand hoses. Other companies in the
settlement are Teknor Apex of Pawtucket, Rhode Island and Flexon
Industries of Newark, NJ. CEH cases against other companies, including
Sears, Kmart and Martha Stewart, are ongoing.
In these hot summer days, its nice to know that kids will be able to
drink from hoses safely,said CEH Executive Director Michael Green. Our
yards shouldnt be danger zones where children are poisoned while theyre
cooling off in the sprinkler.
Lead leaching into hose water can come from the vinyl (PVC) material used
to make hose or from brass nozzles on hoses. In producing PVC, lead is
often added as a stabilizer. In sunshine, lead in hose water is a
particular concern, as heat can cause hoses to leach even higher levels
In the settlement signed Friday by San Francisco Superior Court Judge
Ronald Quidachay, the companies agreed to reformulate their products to
reduce lead exposures below Californias Prop 65 standard by 2007. In
addition, warning labels on any hoses that could cause exposures above
the standard would carry a prominent warning label reading, Do not drink
water from this hose. Wash hands after use.
CEH filed legal notices to the hose makers last fall, after a July 2003
Consumer Reports story, "Dare you Drink From Your Garden Hoseexposed
the problem with lead from garden hoses. The organization is represented
in these cases by the Lexington Law Group, LLP, a San Francisco firm
specializing in environmental and consumer public interest litigation.
Californias Proposition 65 toxics law and its Unfair Competition Law
allow for citizen enforcement when consumer products contain illegal
levels of toxic chemicals. In previous public interest cases, CEH has
used these California laws to change entire industries, including
pressuring the wood playground equipment industry to stop using
arsenic-treated wood, and eliminating health risks from lead in major
brands of baby powder and childrens medicines.
At 03:33 PM 8/21/2006 -0700, Butner, R Scott wrote:
think we bought the same watering wand, Kathey.
Well, not LITERALLY the same
one -- that would be a real pain to share across the miles.
But the same model.
Normally, if I see such a
warning on a product, I chose another product. But in this case the
purchasing decision was dictated by a higher power (my wife), who really,
really, (really!) wanted that particularly sprinkler head (metal flake
purple -- how could she resist?).
I may be an environmental
criminal, but let me tell you this: I look absolutely ravishing
when I am out in the yard, watering my sunflowers. The purple
really brings out the blue in my eyes!!!
or so I've been told. I
actually think she says things like that just to avoid watering the yard
As far as I can tell, this
product is the result of ONE vendor, who happens to be in many of the big
box chain stores. Seems to me that working with the vendor directly
might make some sense.
c/o Pacific NW National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
Voice: (509)-372-4946/Fax: (509) 375-2443
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Kathey Ferland
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 3:15 PM
To: P2 Tech list serve
Subject: Lead in gardening equipment
Recently I purchased several items from large gardening shops which had warnings regarding lead. The warning stated that you should wash your hands after use, etc., It sounded quite dire. This included items such as watering wands and sprinklers.
Does anyone know what the laws/rules might be on lead in items in daily household use? I was shocked to see these items contained lead. Is there an effort to regulate lead content? These are the types of items kids would play with, touch and even drink from. Is there any group trying to raise awareness about this?
Thanks for the info.
Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute
University of Massachusetts Lowell
One University Ave
Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-3387 Fax: 978-934-3050