A little lead can’t hurt

I’ve become completely addicted to Momversation, a video blog where a bunch of popular and witty mommy bloggers pose various questions to the group and discuss them via web cam. Yesterday, Alice from Finslippy posed a question about toxins and recalls – how do you deal? Between lead paint on toys and salmonella in peanut butter, do you block it out or do you flip out?

How apropos, I thought, as I debate whether or not to mail in the cooler bag that came with my Medela Pump in Style metro bag, after I accidentally came across a NYTimes article about how the vinyl lining has lead in it.

Yup, lead.

My first thought upon making this discovery (which, ironically, came about when I was googling in an attempt to purchase a second cooler bag) was “you have to be shitting me.” I have been so damn intentional about EVERYTHING I purchased for the small one. I spent weeks finding the most organic crib mattress, mattress pads and organic wool puddle pad available (not to mention sheets and blankets). All his clothing is organic cotton, down to his booties. We are using glass bottles. His pacifiers are all natural rubber. We are using cloth diapers from a service that uses natural cleaning agents to wash the diapers (not bleach). We have no plastic toys, only wooden ones made from reputable companies located in Europe (and regulated by strict EU standards). Heck, the whole time I was pregnant, I would order soy milk to avoid ever having to drink conventional milk, and never once did I slip and eat cold cuts or tuna. I switched to a Sigg bottle and stopped getting my nails done. We used f-ing hippie paint when redoing the bathroom for god’s sake. We were so good. And then a ridiculously reputable company like Medela goes and completely fucks me.

And no, I am not so crazy that I think that the carrier that holds the (of course, BPA-free) bottles I use to transport my expressed milk home from the office is going to turn my child’s brain into mush. That’s not why I’m so pissed off. It’s because no matter how much research you do, how much money you spend, this modern world of ours is riddled with cost cutters, short cut takers, and the just plain too dumb to think shit through people, and they are making the products we use every day. It makes me want to move to the country and turn my own bowls out of fallen trees.

But back on topic.

On Medela’s website, there is a page dedicated to the cooler bag issue, and they are not only offering to replace your bag but even give you $2.50 to cover your shipping costs for returning it to them. Not a bad response, although it will be a pain to go without a cooler bag for up to 6 weeks while they process my return. I even tried to call them, since the article is from over a year ago, to see if there was any way I could tell if my bag was one of the new, lead free batch or one of the old ones. The customer service lady began to launch into the whole “while we are offering replacements, we don’t believe our product blah blah blah” spiel, and I just asked her point blank if I could tell if my bag was a dud and she said no, just mail it back. Great, thanks guys.

I’m sure I’m going to send it back, but probably not until this weekend, as we are having a bit of a warm spell in Virginia and while I don’t like that there is lead in my bag, I know that letting the milk warm up on my walk home is a much more tangible risk.

I now understand how my mother went crazy.

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One Response to “A little lead can’t hurt”

  1. Malena Says:

    I feel your pain. I used to live in a house that had lead paint and learned that your child does not have to eat paint chips to get exposed to the lead. The dust generated from the grating window panes was more than enough. So, when I moved, I decided I would stay away from houses with lead paint, even though I love older houses. I found a house without lead paint, and a year later, learned that the whole area in which I live used to be an apple orchard. And guess what they sprayed on the trees during those years? Yup. Lead. Oh, and arsenic too. I had the soil tested and sure enough, it has elevated levels of those two heavy metals. At some point, I just had to realize that we live in a world full of toxins, and though I do my level best to protect my children, there are some that are going to get past me.

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