Insights

The year was 1978. Ashton Kuchar and John Legend were born, the Jonestown Massacre occurred, the first Garfield comic was published, the first baby was born through In Vitro Fertilization, and it was also the year the federal government banned lead paint in consumer goods. While the splashes of red and white in your favorite Da Vinci paintings are likely full of lead, the chemical is dangerous–especially if consumed by young children. However, many countries around the world didn’t have laws regulating lead in consumer products until the 2000s. 

It wasn’t until fall 2007 that China, for instance, finally decided to ban lead paint used for children’s toys exported to the US, following the wide scale Fisher-Price toy recall earlier that summer. India didn’t start regulating lead paint until 2016. As of 2021, fewer than half the world’s countries had laws on the books that sought to limit the manufacture and sale of this toxic metal. As of March 2024, Japan and Turkey still don’t. 

Stanley Can’t Keep the Lid on its Lead

Lead still finds its way into consumer products in the US, which has led to a number of more recent recalls as well as class action lawsuits. Stanley uses lead in manufacturing the vacuum seal on its trendy (as early 2024) giant tumblers. 

While the parent company Pacific Market International assures customers that the lead in the vacuum seal does not come into contact with either skin or liquid, a class action was nonetheless filed last month against the company for failing to disclose the presence of lead in their tumblers, noting additionally that the company marketed to young women whose young children could be particularly harmed due to the developmental side effects of even small amount of lead exposure.

Cinnamon with a Trace of Lead

Lead in paint. Lead in vacuum seals. But lead in applesauce? In 2023, the FDA investigated high levels of lead in various brands of cinnamon-applesauce pouches. Though these products were recalled, hundreds of Americans have suffered lead-poisoning as a result. In February, the FDA announced the culprit: lead chromate, a vivid yellow powder that is sometimes added to spices to increase their aesthetic appeal. 

Apparently, an Ecuadorian-based cinnamon supplier no longer in operation may have been lacing its cinnamon with it to mark up the price. Consumers have filed a series of class action suits against the applesauce manufacturer, WanaBana, alleging that it failed to disclose the presence of lead in their products in addition to lacking proper oversight over their manufacturing process. 

Health Supplement or Lead Supplement? 

While we could debate whether or not applesauce is good for you, so-called “health” supplements are supposed to be just that–healthy. At least, that’s what you’d be led to believe in reading the label on a Metamucil bottle. 

The fiber tablets, made by Procter & Gamble, claim to offer “100% natural”,“multihealth fiber” (I’m also not sure what “multihealth” means) that can “help the body’s natural toxin removal”. It’s no wonder that a recent class action lawsuit would accuse the company of false advertising given that the product has over 2,700 times the allowable amount of lead (which is 0.5 micrograms per day, for those who are counting). So much for removing toxins. . . According to the plaintiff, the undisclosed presence of lead seems to contradict the “Doctor Recommended” lingo used in the product’s advertising. But in all fairness, perhaps they are referring to one of those old-timey doctors prescribing lead-laced cure-alls. 

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