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Lead in Vinyl Miniblinds

Lead is a toxic substance with serious adverse effects on human beings. It is particularly hazardous to young children under the age of six because their bodies are rapidly developing. They absorb and retain lead more efficiently and they show adverse health affects at lower lead blood concentration levels. Lead poisoning has been identified as one of the most serious toxicological hazards facing young children in the United States. Medical researchers have found detrimental impact upon learning and the central nervous system in children with lead in blood as low as 10 mg/dL.

For the last 20 years, blinds manufactured in the United States have not used lead as a stabilizer because of the well recognized health hazards associated with lead. Indeed, the manufacture of blinds containing lead is prohibited in the United States. However, virtually all vinyl miniblinds imported to and sold in the United States contain some lead. Approximately 25 million blinds are imported each year from the countries of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico and Indonesia. They mostly contain some lead. Lead in miniblinds is not used as Lead-Paint. Rather, it is used as a vinyl stabilizing additive for rigidity and color retention. As such, lead is one of the last items added in the manufacturing process. Thus, the lead is very near the surface of the blinds.

The Lead Hazard

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that imported non-glossy vinyl miniblinds would eventually deteriorate, forming lead dust that poses a health hazard to children aged six and younger. Further, window mechanisms are fascinating for young children, and sills are often at toddler height. These surfaces are particularly dangerous for young children because they receive so much daily use. According to the CPSC, over time the vinyl in some miniblinds deteriorates from exposure to sunlight, heat, and/or cold, causing lead dust to form on their slatted surfaces. Children also can ingest the dust by mouthing the blinds or by licking their fingers that have picked up dust from the blinds. According to the CSPC, younger children are at risk because they can ingest lead by wiping their hands on the blinds and then putting their hands into their mouth.

What Should You Do?
  1. Based on these hazards, the CPSC has recommended that parents with young children should remove the vinyl miniblinds from their homes.
  2. Contact your local health department for testing, information, and assistance in your investigation. Learn about the hazards of lead poisoning and the methods of prevention.
  3. Test your home for the presence of lead.
  4. Up until the age of 7, make sure that your children's blood is screened annually for the presence of lead. If lead levels are elevated, more frequent screening may be recommended. Please consult your physician.

This informational piece was prepared by Silverman & Fodera. If you would like more information on this topic, call us at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" link on this web site.