OAKLAND – Continuing his fight to ensure the safety of equipment used by children, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today filed a lawsuit against several companies involved in manufacturing children’s bounce houses because some of the inflatable structures contain unsafe amounts of lead.
Testing done by the Center for the Environmental Health and the Attorney General’s office found that some of the vinyl in the bounce houses contains lead levels that violate both federal and state regulations.
“Kids at birthday parties can spend hours playing in bounce houses,” Brown said. “The goal of our lawsuit is to eliminate any chance they will be exposed to lead while they’re jumping around having a good time.”
Bounce houses are large inflatable structures designed for children to play in and on. Facilities that feature indoor inflatables are popular sites for children’s parties, serving millions of children a year. Companies also rent inflatables for use at children’s parties.
In February and March 2010, the Attorney General’s office received notices from the Center for Environmental Health alleging that its testing showed parts of some bounce houses were contaminated with high levels of lead, ranging from 5,000 parts per million (ppm) to 29,000 ppm. Federal limits on lead in children’s products are 90 ppm for painted surfaces and 300 ppm for all other parts.
Today’s lawsuit is intended to force these companies to stop using lead-containing vinyl immediately and to cease selling the lead-containing products. In addition, the action is intended to warn purchasers of these products, and require party places and rental companies to post warnings.
The main exposure pathway from the bounce house to the child is hand-to-mouth. Lead is transferred from the vinyl to a child’s hand during play and then to the mouth.
There is no safe exposure to lead. The tested levels of lead are not high enough by themselves to cause acute health problems, but some people, especially children, who are exposed to lead from a variety of sources can suffer health problems. For that reason, it’s important to eliminate sources of lead whenever possible.
Companies named in the lawsuit include:
Bay Area Jump
Cutting Edge Creations
Funtastic Factory, known as einflatables.com
Leisure Activities Co.
The Inflatable Store
Jump for Fun, Inc.
Jump for Fun National, Inc.
In the past year, Brown has initiated several enforcement actions against manufacturers and retailers for lead in products designed for children.
In July, Brown reached a settlement with artificial turf manufacturers to lower lead levels in turf fields and playgrounds. In June, Brown demanded that Rainbow and 5-7-9 stores remove from shelves jewelry with parts containing as much as 97% lead.
Earlier this year, Target removed teddy bears from its stores after Brown notified the company that lead was found in the product. In November 2009, Brown warned several retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Walgreens, to remove several products designed for children that were found to contain excessive levels of lead.
A copy of today’s complaint is attached.