Health Department Stops Distribution of Zippered Pouches

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2009
Contact: Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health has stopped distribution of a zippered pouch, with attached key ring, because it contains lead in excess of the safety standard for children under age 12.

Anyone with one of the green plastic pouches (a photo of the item is on the Health Department website at healthvermont.gov) is advised to throw it away. Approximately 850 have been distributed by health department district offices and health centers. They were designed to hold a cardiovascular health record card for adults to track their blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight against personal health goals.

The Health Department requested a test by an independent laboratory and found the zipper contained 874 parts per million (ppm) of lead, which exceeds the current state and federal safety standard of 600 ppm for certain children’s products, such as jewelry. By comparison, a Ganz, Inc. jewelry charm contaminated with lead that was removed from a shop in Burlington in 2007 contained over 435,000 parts per million (ppm).

"Although these pouches were designed for adults as part of a chronic disease prevention effort, they are attractive and could easily fall into the hands of children," said Karen Garbarino, director of health promotion and disease prevention. "After receiving the pouches, due to some recent issues with imported goods having high levels of lead, the Health Department staff took the precaution of having them tested."

The zipper poses a minimal health risk to adults but should not be handled by children, who could put the item in their mouth and be exposed to lead.

The Health Department has also created a poster that includes a picture of the item and the words “please discard.” Anyone with questions or concerns about the items should contact the Health Department toll-free at 1-800-439-8550.

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