Public Health Department Recalls Free Lunch Boxes
The Department of Public Health on Thursday announced a recall of more than 300,000 lunch boxes that it had distributed statewide because of concerns about "elevated levels" of lead in the products, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The lunch boxes were distributed as part of public outreach efforts to encourage healthy lifestyle habits among children (Bowman, Sacramento Bee, 9/21).
Department officials said consumers should stop using the lunch boxes and return them to the place where they received them or take them to a hazardous waste collection facility.
DPH officials said no injuries had been reported because of use of the lunchboxes.
State officials were alerted to the problem in late July after Sacramento County officials detected elevated levels of lead in the lunch boxes during a spot check (Goodman/Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 9/21).
Mark Horton, director of DPH, said that after hearing from Sacramento County officials, the state stopped ordering or distributing additional lunch boxes and warned its partners on the project. He said the department delayed alerting consumers until the results of additional confirmation tests were received.
Consumer advocates said the state agency should have been more vigilant in monitoring the situation because the vinyl and canvas lunch boxes that were distributed are known to contain lead (Harmon, MediaNews/San Jose Mercury News, 9/21).