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.