Ironically, more than 50,000 lunch boxes given out to Californians as part of a nutrition education effort, could be recalled as they are suspected of containing elevated levels of lead. According to officials, the public might have to shun these goods, which were handed out at health fairs and other events.
Testing by the California Department of Public Health found increased lead levels in three lunch boxes, which were made in China. These boxes are made from green canvas and bear a logo, which says, "Eat fruits & vegetables and be active."
Officials are asking people to return the lunch boxes to the places where they got them or else to take them to their local household hazardous waste collection facility for disposal.
Through programs such as the Network for a Healthy California Program and the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children, the department had handed out about 300,000 lunch boxes for health promotion and nutrition education.
Dr. Mark Horton, director of the department was quoted: "We will no longer use lunch boxes until such time as we are assured that every lunch box is safe".
The boxes that tested positive for lead were manufactured by TA Creations, which has factories in Canton, China.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are more vulnerable than adults to lead poisoning, and even low levels of exposure can affect a child's mental and physical growth.
No known cases of lead poisoning have resulted from the use of the lunch boxes, officials say.