Lab Finds High Lead Levels In Pet Products

An Albuquerque news team tested various pet supplies and toys by first using a lead surface do-it-yourself test kit and then took those some pet products to Assaigai Analytical Environmental Labs for further testing.

The news team first tested a yellow dog ball, a green ceramic pet bowl, a white ceramic pet bowl, and a bird cage with their do-it-yourself test kit. The yellow dog ball did not show any lead levels, while the green ceramic pet bowl did test positive for lead. The white ceramic pet bowl and the bird cage yielded a higher positive lead result.

The news team took the two ceramic pet bowls and the bird cage to the lab to be tested.

John Biava, vice president and lab operations manager, tested the samples and confirmed the presence of lead in all of them.

The green bowl tested at 62 parts per million, while the white bowl tested at 990 milligrams per kilogram (milligrams per kilogram is the metric equivalent of parts per million).

The bird cage was tested at 8,200 parts per million, which Biava said is ten times the level of lead allowed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Veterinarian Michael Melloy said a bird cage with that amount of lead could be detrimental.

He said, “Birds are really profoundly affected by lead, because it accumulates in the gizzard — which is a muscular part of the stomach — stays there for a long period of time and it can be absorbed over time and can really cause serious intoxication.”

Melloy added that in regards to the ceramic dog bowls, a dog would have to break the bowl and then eat and digest the pieces to cause any harm to the pet.

The news team contacted Petsmart, who makes the bird cage, to tell them of the lead results. A company spokesperson said they are testing the bird cages. They expect their results to come back in about a week and a half.

A FDA spokesperson said the agency would look into the lead levels of ceramic pet bowls.

Source: KOAT

(Thanks menusux)

13 Responses to “Lab Finds High Lead Levels In Pet Products”

  1. mikken says:

    “Melloy added that in regards to the ceramic dog bowls, a dog would have to break the bowl and then eat and digest the pieces to cause any harm to the pet.”

    I wonder if it’s possible for the lead to leach into water or food over a period of time? I’m always suspicious of those pet bowls at the pet store and won’t buy them. My animals eat off of dishes (and drink out of bowls) intended for human use only. Not that that’s any guarantee of lead-free safety these days, but you do what you can…

  2. Dennis says:

    While I mean no disrespect to Dr. Melloy, isn’t Melloy a vet, with no other qualifications stated here or at the local KOAT story? Wouldn’t that make his expertise limited to animal health, and thus should not imply Melloy is an expert on ceramics, inorganic chemistry, and the chemical properties of glazes, pottery, and whether this bowl’s lead would leech out, by how much, and under what circumstances? Being an expert in one field does not automatically make someone an expert in another field.

    The KOAT article points out Melloy recommends consumers use steel bowls or high impact plastic bowls instead.

    While I am no expert, I am using stable, non-tipping glass bowls such as Pyrex for our cat. And I’d avoid the steel bowls that presently have the very nasty smelling rubberized no-skid bottoms which I see in the major pet stores. Those apparently have some kind of chemical in them that smells bad even to humans. With dog’s and cat’s noses being MANY times more sensitive than ours, that must be a repugnant smell to them!! And we expect them to EAT from a bowl that smells like that? Stainless steel bowl, no rubber foot, not made in China. Or glass, or some kind of plastic that isn’t melamine based.

    And if it is a dog who might break a glass bowl, then I’d not use glass, unless it was securely fastened in some kind of heavy holder on the floor.

  3. Don Earl says:

    Up until the mid to late 70s, people were exposed to two major sources of lead. Leaded gasoline, and lead toothpaste tubes. For those who don’t remember the lead toothpaste tubes, by the time you squeezed out the last of it, the toothpaste was so loaded with lead it came out a dark gray.

    Coincident with the silient switch to plastic toothpaste tubes was a national campaign to remove lead from paint, based on the cannard that kids eat so many paint chips they eventually suffer from the toxic effects of lead poisoning.

    So, let’s take the dog dish with 1 part per 1000 lead in the ceramic surface coating. If the bowl is about 8 inches around, there’s about 50 square inches of top surface to be coated. If the coating is 1/100 of an inch thick, you’d have half a cubic inch of total coating. A rough estimate of 5 grams of coating would give you a total of 5 mg of lead, if one were silly enough to break up the dish, remove the coating, grind it to a fine powder, and eat it. At that, I doubt a nonporous substance such as ceramic is likely to release much lead.

    There’s probably more lead in the water going into the dish than lead that could be released by the dish itself.

    According to this Wiki article, there were 13.5 million children with elevated lead levels in 1978 (about the time use of lead toothpaste tubes was discontinued), which has since dropped by 98%.

    If folks are concerned about things likely to destroy their brains, a good place to start is the stuff fed to us by a corporate media, sponsored by corporate advertisers, that not once in three decades has ever mentioned leaded toothpaste as the source of lead poisoning in over 13 million children.

  4. straybaby says:

    i wonder if they tested for the other heavy metals. those do leach in water. that’s how you do the home test kits. lead may also leach. while there may not be enough lead in some of the bowls even if the dog ate the bowl, we have varying amounts in their toys also, that we know of. including soft toys, which would lead me to the guess it’s also in their bedding. do we know the cummilative (sp?) factor here? ya know, the opposite of the dilution factor!

    how is this any different than a kid having a toy box full of toys that are mildly tainted with lead/heavy metals? isn’t it just a slower form of poisoning?

    Don, I remember those old toothpaste tubes! OY!!

  5. Katie says:

    I don’t use ceramic bowls, my dog/dogs eat and drink out of stainless steel bowls. Actually like them because they can be sterilized. However, I know many people who have used dog ceramic bowls for serving human food or for potato chips,etc.
    I’ve often wondered if acidic water or food were placed in those bowls if the lead would leach if a bowl were scratched or chipped. What about pets with acidic saliva? Anyone interested in USA lead free bowls - Fiestaware is great.

    Straybaby, I’ve wonderd too, about the cumulative effect.

    Don, I remember those old toothpaste tubes too! And, I think you may have hit upon something…our brains messed up by corporate media…exactly what they want control.

    Just this past Sat. on Fox News during the AM business segment the discussion was: decrease the amount of homework and hours kids put into classwork because… it would help the economics of this country. How; the kids would have more time to shop and consume.


  6. Don Earl says:

    RE: “decrease the amount of homework and hours kids put into classwork because… it would help the economics of this country. How; the kids would have more time to shop and consume.”

    Actually, illiterate people are a wonderful source of cheap labor and make far better slaves than those trained to use their minds to think and reason.

  7. kb says:

    I thought people weren’t suppose to use dishes with lead in the glaze because it could leach out when in contact with certain foods. So no spaghetti sauce as part of home cooking for the dog ;)

  8. Sharon says:

    The September 2007 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine has a good story about lead in children’s toys. The CPSC and the FDA are doing nothing about lead in children’s lunch boxes that can also leach onto food they subsequently eat. We have kids with autism in this country, kids dying of lead poisoning from products that come from China, and our government continues to talk smack, pass the buck, and do nothing, and y’all expect them to care about pets! They don’t care if your children die! they are too busy going on industry paid trips to Paris etc to actually do their jobs. Barack Obama introduced a Lead Free Toy bill in 2005. He reintroduced it in 2007. The Bush administration and the Republicans on Capital Hill killed it. Remember that the next time your child has flu like symptoms and take them in to be tested for lead poisoning. You may want to tell your doctor to ignore the Government standards and tell you what lead has been found since we all know the Government standards do not protect anyone, certainly not your pets or your children. Remember, your government thinks poison is OK.

  9. chris says:

    The lab in texas found lead in pet toys several months ago. This makes 2 different labs. I wonder if they can test the food as well?

  10. Teresa says:

    Lead, melamine, acetominophen, rat poison, corn, wheat, soy … How about putting some meat in our pet food!

  11. trudyjackson says:

    My dishes are made in China. when i tested them, they came out alright. But, they have that glaze on them. do i have to somehow scrape off that glaze?
    I remember the toothpaste too. But I didn’t know it was lead. Yech.
    And how can you tell how much or if lead is in the water?

  12. Patricia Louks says:

    I bought a new bird cage from Petsmart. My little bird suddenly died. I am wondering if the bird cage was made in China and had lead in it. My bird was very healthy up to the time he was put in the new cage. I appreciate an answer on this.

  13. Jen T says:

    I am a licensed lead risk assessor for the city of minneapolis. We test homes of children who are diagnosed with lead poisoning. While lead paint in old homes is by far the biggest source of lead poisoning in children lead in products is 100% preventable! We often times test dishes when on inspections. We still find lead glaze on dishes that are currently being sold today at regular department stores (Target and KMart are the two that I remember off hand).

    Our office conducted a mini experiment (not an experiment that would be legally defensible in court but a test to get an idea) we took a bowl that tested positive for lead glaze. We placed coffee in the bowl overnight. We sent the coffee to our laboratory (licensed lab) to see if the lead leached into the coffee. The coffee came back higher than legal levels of lead in water. SO it can leach into food if left in the bowl too long (coffee is acidic and we assumed that’s why it leached into the coffee from the bowl).

    I’ll quickly mention three other sources of lead in pets that literally scares the hell out of me. We see the first two all the time in my job. Dogs left on porches who chew on window and door trim painted with lead paint. Generally in homes built before 1930ish contain the highest levels of lead. It’s not the top several layers of paint but the first few - generally the dogs chew all the way to the wood so they are ingesting the lead in the paint too.

    Second, cats who sit in window wells! When your cat sits in an old window well it can collect lead dust on its fur…licking itself clean will lead to lead poisoing…but also the cat can track lead dust throughout the home poisoning children.

    I have also spoke with a representative of Niton (the company that makes lead testing XRF machines). Lead is still put in dog toys unfortunatley I am not sure which ones. Generally lead is found in vinyl products (think vinyl mini blinds or those toy dinasaurs) basically plastic products that are mallable (I’m fearful that the KONG toys will contain lead). Someday I hope that our office can purchase an XRF machine that tests plastic products ($45,000 so I’m not holding my breath) our current machine tests paint.

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