Lead poisoning hazard in imported vinyl miniblinds

"Some of the vinyl blinds had a level of lead in the dust that would not be considered a health hazard, while others had very high levels," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Since consumers cannot determine the amount of lead in the dust on their blinds, parents with young children should remove these vinyl miniblinds from their homes."

CPSC asked the Window Covering Safety Council, which represents the industry, to immediately change the way it produces vinyl miniblinds by removing the lead added to stabilize the plastic in these blinds. Manufacturers have made the change and new miniblinds without added lead should appear on store shelves beginning around July 1 and should be widely available over the next 90 days.

Stores will sell the new vinyl blinds packaged in cartons indicating that the blinds are made without added lead. The cartons may have labeling such as "new formulation," "nonleaded formula," "no lead added," or "new! non-leaded vinyl formulation." New blinds without lead should sell in the same price range as the old blinds at about $5 to $10 each.

CPSC recommends that consumers with young children remove old vinyl miniblinds from their homes and replace them with new miniblinds made without added lead or with alternative window coverings. Washing the blinds does not prevent the vinyl blinds from deteriorating, which produces lead dust on the surface.

The Arizona and North Carolina Departments of Health first alerted CPSC to the problem of lead in vinyl miniblinds. CPSC tested the imported vinyl miniblinds for lead at its laboratory.

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