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Republican "consumer safety" ignored lead in child lunchboxes

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Is it really asking for too much to expect the Republicans to help out consumers instead of their corporate contributors? How low can the GOP sink by allowing vinyl lead-laden lunch boxes to be sold to America's children? The crime is bad enough, but when previously asked the the research behind their approval of the toxic lunch boxes, they played the "we need to protect manufacturers business" card and acted against the best interest of American children.

Once again, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the details are now emerging:

"They found levels that we consider very high," said Alexa Engelman, a researcher at the Oakland, California-based Center for Environmental Health, which has filed a series of legal complaints about lead in lunchboxes.

"They knew this all along and they didn't take action on it. It's upsetting to me. Why are we, as a country, protecting the companies? We should be protecting the kids. I don't think in this instance they did their job."

Said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California: "I am concerned that the CPSC has failed to protect children from an unnecessary hazard they have known about for some time. We should protect our children by banning lead in all children's products."

Although these test results are only now being aired publicly, the CPSC did provide them to the Food and Drug Administration last summer. The FDA's reaction was completely different from the CPSC's. In July 2006, after receiving the test results, the FDA sent a letter to lunch box manufacturers warning them that their lead levels might be dangerously high and advising them that the FDA might take action against them because the lead would be considered a food additive if it rubbed off onto kids' lunches.

"The lunchboxes containing the lead compounds may be subject to enforcement action," said the letter.

In response to the FDA warning, Wal-Mart stopped selling soft lunchboxes with vinyl liners, and offered refunds to customers who wanted to return the ones they already had.
So here you have it: consumer protection by Wal-Mart and hollow threats by our own government. While I appreciate Wal-Mart's action, their own record is dubious and this is merely one outlet. What is the matter with the GOP political appointees who are so uninterested in consumers?

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