Dispatch: Even Inflatable Houses Are Unsafe For Kids?

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With children’s products under the microscope these days, it seems that the only “safe” way for kids to play is in inflatable “bounce houses” — or not. Today’s New York Times reports that these vinyl-based play pens pose a lead risk, according to a Center for Environmental Health study that tested dozens of bounce houses for lead. Family physician Dr. Megan Schwarzman has not seen the test results, but tells the Times that there is “no safe level of lead exposure to children.”

“It doesn’t surprise me that the Center for Environmental Health is trying to scare parents about such nonsense — that’s as predictable as a dog barking,” says ACSH’s Jeff Stier. “But the coverage from the Times is unacceptable. To imply that there are 2.7 million children under age five in the state of California at risk is irresponsible reporting. Also, stating that the California Attorney General who filed the lawsuit has no children has absolutely no relevance. This reads like a high school newspaper.”

ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross takes umbrage at Dr. Schwarzman’s statement on lead exposure. “When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, we had lead exposure levels 10 times or higher the levels they are now. So it’s a wonderful thing that lead levels have been lowered by various regulatory interventions, most notably in lead paint and gasoline. But to say that there is no safe level of lead exposure implies that I and my age cohort must all be mentally challenged from lead poisoning.”

Stier adds, “The notion that there is no safe level of exposure is highly suspect. We know better, and the science knows better.”