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Lead in consumer products
Act 193 of 2008, 9 V.S.A. §§ 2470e-2470l, was enacted to phase out most lead from children’s and some non-children’s products, and to warn consumers about the dangers of lead. Lead is highly toxic, particularly to young children, and it can cause neurological damage such as decreases in I.Q.
Lead in Children’s Products
Act 193’s quantitative limits on lead in children’s products are the same as the limits imposed later in 2008 by the federal Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) and are not preempted by federal law. Act 193 also incorporates the federal standards into state law by reference.
The current state (and federal) limit on lead in children’s products—products that are designed for use by children age twelve and under—is 0.03 percent, or 300 parts per million (ppm), a level that by federal law is likely to drop to 100 ppm on August 14, 2011.
Lead in non-Children’s Products
Act 193 also addresses the issue of lead in five types of non-children’s products, either through quantitative limits or through mandated disclosures:
Lead in Housing
Lead in paint and dust from lead paint are the major sources of lead exposure for Vermont children. Approximately 66% of Vermont homes and 80% of Vermont rental units were built before 1978 when lead was banned in residential paint. Anyone living in or working on these buildings is at greater risk for exposure to lead – especially when unsafe work practices are used. Vermont’s lead in housing law was most recently amended effective July 1, 2008. View a summary of those amendments or the law.
For more information on lead in housing, visit the Attorney General’s Office Lead in Housing webpage.
Act 193 is enforceable under the Consumer Fraud Act, by both the Attorney General and individual consumers. Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers are all liable for their own sales of products in or into Vermont that violate the applicable standards, and for any related disclosures or handouts that may be required.
The Attorney General’s Office has settled cases with manufacturers and distributors of consumer products when it has found high levels of lead in items sold in Vermont.
In addition to sanctions ranging from $100,000 to $450,000, these settlements have also included the imposition of stringent standards for toy and jewelry manufacturers, testing and reporting requirements, and the designation of funds for Vermont children’s health programs.
Lead Enforcement Actions and Settlements brought by the Attorney General’s Office (includes Lead in Housing cases)
Advice for Parents
Because of the risk of lead poisoning, you should keep small items of metal jewelry away from young children, so they don’t put the products in their mouth. Lead causes neurological disorders, including drops in IQ, and accumulates in the body from any source.
There is no safe level of lead in the body.
Attorney General’s Office Guide to the lead in consumer products law for businesses Attorney General’s Office Supplemental guide on lead in plumbing supplies Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Vermont’s lead in plumbing supplies law (“Act 193”) Vermont Department of Health’s Lead website
Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.