Lead in Distributed Lunch Bags
Written by: Susie Kopecky

California’s State Health Department is trying to recall 350,000 lunchbags from China which have been shown to contain high levels of lead.

More bad news for China. The California State Health Department is now trying to recall 350,000 Chinese-made lunch bags which were later shown to contain high levels of lead. The Health Department obtained these lunch sacks from China. According to an article in the San Jose-based Mercury News, "The lunchboxes were imported from China by Los Angeles-based T-A Creations, whose vice president, Andrew Halim, said its initial testing -- of only the bag's lining -- found no lead before they were sold to a second company, You Name It Promotions of Oakland, which sold them to the state."

The Sacramento Health Department has told parents to throw away the canvas lunch bags, which according to the article, were distributed at health fairs to "mainly low-income parents." The bag also has a message encouraging a good balance in nutrition and the consumption of fruits and vegetables

56,000 Lead-Contaminated Lunch Totes Recalled In California
When California's Department of Health handed out lunch boxes it had healthy meals in mind.
But now the state is recalling 56,000 lunch totes because they may contain lead.
Tests found elevated lead levels in three of the canvas boxes made in China.
Tests found lead present in multiple parts of the bags.
The state passed them out at health fairs.



Lunch boxes used as nutrition education items have elevated levels of lead 

NUMBER: 07-39

DATE: September 20, 2007

CONTACT: Suanne Buggy, (916) 440-7259

SACRAMENTO – Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), today urged consumers to stop using lunch boxes, which have been distributed as CDPH nutrition educational items, after testing showed elevated levels of lead in three lunch boxes.

The canvas lunch boxes that showed elevated levels of lead were green with a logo reading EAT FRUITS & VEGETABLES AND BE ACTIVE. Approximately 56,000 of these lunch boxes have been distributed throughout California at health fairs and other events.  

“CDPH will no longer use lunch boxes until such time as we are assured that every lunch box is safe.  In addition to lunch boxes, we are assessing all of our health promotion items to ensure that they are safe,” Horton said. “We are urging Californians to not use these lunch boxes and keep them away from infants and young children.“


Individuals who have these lunch boxes should return them to the place where they got them, if possible, or take them to their local household hazardous waste (HHW) collection facility for disposal. Local HHW facilities can be found at one of the following Web sites:


The CDPH lunch boxes that tested positive for lead were obtained through a manufacturer, TA Creations, which has factories in Canton, China. 

In addition to the lunch boxes that tested positive for lead, CDPH has used other lunch boxes as nutrition education items for the Network for a Healthy California Program and the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Although these lunch boxes have not shown elevated levels of lead, CDPH recommends consumers stop using and dispose of any CDPH lunch boxes and keep them away from young children as a precaution. CDPH is conducting additional testing on these lunch boxes. Approximately 300,000 lunch boxes have been distributed. All items are pictured below.


No known cases of lead poisoning have resulted from use of the lunch boxes.  

For more information about lead poisoning, consumers are advised to contact their local childhood lead poisoning prevention program or public health department.  Additional information and a list of local childhood lead prevention programs are available at CDPH’s Web site at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/discond/Pages/CLPPBChildrenAtRisk.aspx


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