Pet Industry Responds To Lab Finding Lead, Other Toxins In Wal-Mart Pet Toys

Catnip toyAfter ConsumerAffairs.com reported that Expertox, a Texas lab, found elevated levels of lead, cadmium, and chromium in two Wal-Mart pet toys, the pet industry said they are taking notice and action.

American Pet Products Manufacturers Association’s (APPMA) President Bob Vetere said everyone in the pet industry has been alerted of the lab findings and are making sure products are being tested and are safe.

He stated: “And the reaction from virtually everyone I’ve talked to about the story is: ‘Wait a minute. We didn’t know about this. Hello, what’s going on?’ And they’ve called their vendors and suppliers to be sure they’re testing the products. It’s good that you got this out there so they (our members) could know, and they are pushing very hard on their vendors now to get those test results. If nothing else, everyone is now aware of this in the industry.”

Despite the reported risks and lab reports, Wal-Mart tried to spin the story by using their public relations firm, Edelman. Instead of testing their toys and being concerned, the company said that Expertox “severely misinterpreted” their findings. They asked ConsumerAffairs.com to retract their story and threatened legal action against them if they did not comply.

After hearing about the lab findings, two veterinarians said the levels that Expertox found did not pose a health risk to pets. But one doctor who specializes in the removal of metals from humans disagrees. He said that people should be worried if lead gets into a pet or human’s body.

Dr. Rashid Buttar, head of the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research in North Carolina, said: “Poison is poison. I’m a dog lover and, no, I don’t want my dog to be chewing on a dog toy that has lead. It’s absolutely worrisome to me if that green monster toy gets in a toddler’s mouth.”

Buttar did say that the levels found in the toys are common. He said that children are being exposed to lead all over the place. These small amounts of lead can accumulate to be harmful and cause negative health effects.

Vetere said he was at a pet show in Las Vegas when the lab results came out, and the people in the industry he spoke to were extremely concerned about Expertox’s findings. He said they want to make sure that pets stay safe and healthy.

“There’s certainly cause for everybody to pay attention to this report,” Vetere stated. “Some people might say ‘oh my goodness, how can this happen?’ And another group might say the results are bogus. But as with any crisis, everybody’s got to take a deep breath, check the information, and check their products. And that’s what’s happening now.”

He added that most pet toy companies test their products routinely for lead and other toxins.

Vetere also said that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the “most common sense” federal agency to oversee pet products. He said the APPMA is willing to work with them and help them in regards to this issue.

However, the CPSC still remains quiet about Expertox’s findings. A spokesman said the CPSC only oversees products that harm humans. He did not address the possible risk to children and adults who may handle pet toys.

Vetere said he shared pet owners’ concerns about the lab results and assured consumers that they take these results seriously.

He added: “Our members are as on top of this as they can be and they are on top of making sure their products are safe. Most people in the pet industry are in it because they love pets and they are as concerned as any pet owner out there.”

On a side note, Edelman, Wal-Mart’s public relations firm, has not had a clean record. Last year, they were involved in a fake-blog scandal. Edelman employees were creating pro Wal-Mart blogs under false identities.

Source: ConsumerAffairs.com, Marketing Vox

(Thanks menusux)

30 Responses to “Pet Industry Responds To Lab Finding Lead, Other Toxins In Wal-Mart Pet Toys”

  1. Donna says:

    Key word.I WILL EXCEPT NONE OF YOUR EXCUSES ! GET THE TOXINS OUT OF TOYS AND FOODS. IF NOT,……………NO SALES ! SIGNED , AN AMERICAN CONSUMER.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Remember this commercial-

    “I’m, not gonna try it. You try it.”

    I’m not gonna try it. Let’s get Mikey!”

    Yup. Sorry CPSC, this one looks like yours.

    Itchmo Admin: any chance Research could have it’s own area in the forum?

  3. nora says:

    No more toys with any type of paint. No more toys that come from China. I WILL NOT BUY!!!!!!!!!! EVER AGAIN!!!!!! Life can go on without them!!!!!

  4. Jenny Bark says:

    Menusux, Thanks. I like this vet Dr. Rashid Buttar, Poison is Poison, doesn’t want is dog eating lead or children. He sounds like one of the honest vets who really does care about pets & people.

    The other vets before didn’t fool any of us, only hurt thenselves & rep.. The list of good, honest vets just keep getting shorter & shorter. Most are just making all their extra money selling by-product food and now I guess toys for big company profits. Wonder how much money they maded to sell their souls?

    Hey pr firms. Wal-Mart could never stand up to a really good honest inspection, and almost everybody in the world knows it. Keep on spinning & taking their money, but most of us arn’t buying your story.

  5. Pukanuba says:

    “He added: “Our members are as on top of this as they can be and they are on top of making sure their products are safe. Most people in the pet industry are in it because they love pets and they are as concerned as any pet owner out there.”

    Oh, puullllleeeezzzzzz, give me a friggin break. Nobody in the pet industry GAS about our animals. Who do you think you’re kidding?

    “On a side note, Edelman, Wal-Mart’s public relations firm, has not had a clean record. Last year, they were involved in a fake-blog scandal. Edelman employees were creating pro Wal-Mart blogs under false identities.”

    This also comes as a great surprise…..yeah, right. They can join the jackasses in the pf industry with their trolls & false blogs defending their companies. I say BS to all of you. Just because we are pet lovers doesn’t mean we’re stupid.

    Why don’t you just work on having heart, soul & a conscience & run an honest business……

  6. Jan White says:

    Itchmo,
    Let me first say thank you for Pet Safety Alerts. I am writing because of the recent notice you posted regarding the lab test results on pet toys sold at Wal-Mart. I want to relate my personal experience as I am not sure who else I could contact.

    Along with millions of other pet owners I had closely followed the pet food recall and had great concern particularly since I was having some problems with my “kids” (dogs). I kept assuming that the problems were somehow connected to dog food as the list of recalled foods continued to grow.

    My dogs are never sick and normally the only vet visits are for their vaccinations or to have one spayed or neutered. As I remember the sequence, I initially took Patty, a lab mix about eight years old into the vet as she started vomiting and vomited some blood. She was treated and the problem seemed improved. I also took Patty in for a cough that was not Kennel Cough and was diagnosed as bronchitis. I took Patty, Skyler (a Border Collie) about seven years old and Baby (Patty’s brother – a lab mix) into the vet as all three had severe diarrhea. All three were treated and improved. A fecal test was done and the results showed no parasites. Each time I went in I also told the vet that all three seemed to be having some allergies and Patty and Skyler having severe allergies. Skyler received injections for allergies twice and I bought special shampoo. I ultimately put all of them on a Hills prescription diet for dogs with allergies as the vet wished to rule out food allergies. It didn’t help. I started giving Patty and Skyler over the counter Claritin which seemed to give some relief. They were coughing, sneezing and reverse sneezing. I have never had a problem with allergies with any of them. Skyler and Patty particularly love toys and have squeaking contests with squeaky toys and love to chase balls etc. Baby has some interest in playing but not like the other two. I had purchased several of the different shaped $.99 stuffed Latex dog toys including the green monster at Wal-Mart. The price was right and since Skyler occasionally will eat pieces of toys I wanted to be sure I had a good supply on hand. Obviously I have taken all the toys away so we’ll see what happens. I have spent a lot recently on veterinary bills in an effort to find out what was wrong and have my kids be healthy and comfortable.

    I have to wonder if the pet toys are behind the problems I have had and I certainly think that the veterinarians who felt they are not a concern might want to reconsider. In addition as the article published by consumer affairs states small children in a home are very apt to put animal toys in their mouths.

    I am a senior citizen and have had animals all my life from horses to dogs and cats and never felt concern for the toys I purchased or the food I fed as long as it was a decent quality.

    WHAT IS GOING ON THAT WE NOW HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT OUR PETS?

  7. menusux says:

    FYI–here are some URLs which discuss the Edelman fake W-M blogs:

    http://www.marketingvox.com/ar.....fesses_up/

    October 20, 2006
    More Fake Wal-Mart Blogs, Edelman Fesses up

    “PR firm Edelman, which after a fake-blog scandal last week promised to be more open in its dealings, on Thursday admitted it is behind two other fake blogs created for client Wal-Mart.

    “One blog appears is on the site of Working Families for Wal-Mart, the “astroturf” advocacy group formed by Edelman last December, writes MediaPost. More intriguingly, however, the second fake blog is on WFWM subsidiary site Paid Critics - which is devoted to “exposing” links between unions and other vested interests that are supposedly “smearing Wal-Mart.”

    “Last week, the Wal-Marting Across America blog was shut down after it was revealed to have been written by two writers paid by WFWM. Now the three contributors to the two other Edelman-created blogs are identified on them as Edelman employees whose clients include Working Families for Wal-Mart.”

    http://www.webpronews.com/insi.....d-for-blog

    October 16, 2006

    “A travel blog featuring a couple traveling the country by RV and camping in Wal-Mart parking lots turned out to be a fake, its pro-Wal-Mart message backed by the Edelman PR firm.

    “BusinessWeek pulled the covers off the Wal-Marting Across America blog, revealing its backing by an Edelman-financed organization called Working Families for Wal-Mart. The demise of the fake blog, being called a “flog” by MediaPost in its description of the site, promptly had its doors blown off by commentary from throughout the blogosphere.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03.....N80sJXrwpw

    New York Times March 7, 2006

    Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in P.R. Campaign

    “Brian Pickrell, a blogger, recently posted a note on his Web site attacking state legislation that would force Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health insurance. “All across the country, newspaper editorial boards — no great friends of business — are ripping the bills,” he wrote.

    “It was the kind of pro-Wal-Mart comment the giant retailer might write itself. And, in fact, it did.

    “Several sentences in Mr. Pickrell’s Jan. 20 posting — and others from different days — are identical to those written by an employee at one of Wal-Mart’s public relations firms and distributed by e-mail to bloggers.”

    With BusinessWeek & New York Times covering this, it can’t be dismissed as falsely reported. Didn’t see any reports of W-M suing either of them for false reporting or getting the story out of their respective editions containing it.

    A lot of noxious hot air coming from the direction of W-M and Edelman; everybody didn’t fall off the last turnip truck that rolled by.

  8. Jenny Bark says:

    Menusux, THANKS, a really great post. You always find what I’m not good enough on the computer yet to find. Thanks again.

    Jan White, I’m so sorry about what is happening to your babies & maybe your health too. You have joined all the rest of us wanting things changed. All of us have paid out a lot of money & I for one don’t think a lot of vets have been for the pets or pet parents. Some imo are working more for pfi than us. Keep reading Itchmo and you will get a lot of ideas to protect your babies. Good Luck.

  9. Elaine says:

    Quote from Jan White’s post 10:15 am:

    “Each time I went in I also told the vet that all three seemed to be having some allergies and Patty and Skyler having severe allergies. Skyler received injections for allergies twice and I bought special shampoo. I ultimately put all of them on a Hills prescription diet for dogs with allergies as the vet wished to rule out food allergies. ”

    Jan, in case you missed the blogs when Hill’s prescription diet was recalled, you should know the Hills, while not having any more PUBLISHED recalls, has quietly pulled products from shelves to avoid publicity.Because of this: I quit feeding my dogs Hill’s Science Diet and have started ordering Kumpi kibble on the internet.

    I feel that any company that will pull product because that product is tainted somehow, should also notify customers so they can decide for themselves whether to feed it or return it. During this crisis MANY pets became ill or died because companies didn’t announce recalls!

    Science Diet is expensive, and we were led to believe that it was nutritionally to superior to cheaper products, which is NOT true!

    My mini Aussies have been on Kumpi for about 2 months, have quit shedding, and have new, shiny, thick coats! I found this brand of food on The Pet Food List. I checked out others and I sure some of them were good, as well.

    My advice is to quit feeding Hills, and do some research, ask some questions of the company, and buy something else!

  10. Denise says:

    menusux thanks for finding all the ‘dirt’ on these corporate scumbags and thanks itchmo for this invaluable blog and keeping up-to-date with the all the latest disturbing developments.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone testing their sick pets for heavy metal poisoning?

  12. Anon says:

    Jan White,

    There are also discussions on the forums here that Itchmo provides regarding pet food, recalls, toys, health issues, etc. You can read all of them. If you want to post on the forums, you will have to register.

    http://itchmoforums.com/

  13. Ruth says:

    “But one doctor who specializes in the removal of metals from humans disagrees. He said that people should be worried if lead gets into a pet or human’s body.

    Dr. Rashid Buttar, head of the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research in North Carolina, said: “Poison is poison. I’m a dog lover and, no, I don’t want my dog to be chewing on a dog toy that has lead. It’s absolutely worrisome to me if that green monster toy gets in a toddler’s mouth.”

    Finally a Doctor, who doesn’t agree with Vets. Does it take a human doctor to know the difference “Poison is poison”. Are Vets so indoctrinated by the PFI that they don’t know the difference?

    And why is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keeping so quite about ExperTox? If they aren’t concerned about pet safety they should be concerned about the safety of children and adults handling pet toys. Small children are most likely to put these toys in their mouths or play with them too.

    To Jan White: Glad you found Itchmo, please read the forums and check with the different pet foods listed.
    Sorry to read about your pets. We are all in the same predictament. A lot of us here have lost a pet(s) or dealing with sick pets. Some due to recalled pet food and some due to yet unrecalled pet food. I hope you find something good for your pets.

  14. Trudy Jackson says:

    I wonder how you would have your pet tested for Metal?
    Jan white, I had to put some of My cats on Hills Z/D for allergies because they were throwing up. Some ate it, most didn’t. that’s when i lost 3 cats so I don’t if it was that food or another. Now, I have some cats that are still loosing weight and have very loose stools. Some don’t play with the toys, but i wonder about the blanckets I bought for them. do any of you have those self-heating blankets, I got Mine at the pet store? And it could also be the dishes.

  15. Ruth says:

    “On a side note, Edelman, Wal-Mart’s public relations firm, has not had a clean record. Last year, they were involved in a fake-blog scandal. Edelman employees were creating pro Wal-Mart blogs under false identities.”

    I’d like to see how Ms. O’Brien puts a spin on this scandal. Edelman…..Busted…….send in the Trolls…..

  16. Trudy Jackson says:

    When anyone gets a chance go to Petconnection and see the new blog about food imports

  17. Don Earl says:

    I think there’s a point where a little more balance would be helpful on this story. Among other things, it’s easy to get confused between milligrams and micrograms. The focus appears to be on lead, which was found at slightly less than 1 part per million. Considering the limit on lead is 600 ppm, 1 ppm strikes me as quite low.

    Chromium, in some forms, is actually sold as a dietary supplement. The dosage in those supplements is around 400 micrograms per day. Personally, I don’t think eating chrome is a good idea, but the levels found do not suggest an immediate health threat.

    Cadmium levels also appear to be fairly low, but considering the toxicity of the substance, of the three, it appears to be the most dangerous.

    Dr. Lykissa has done extensive research, over decades, on problems with the heavy metal platinum in breast implants. Early on he was practically the lone voice of opposition at a time when all the experts were saying the products were safe. The horror stories that eventually showed just how terribly right he was would turn the stomach of any right thinking person.

    Under the circumstances, I think it would be fair to say his concerns over the lab results are from the perspective of long term health effects rather than near term prospects of immediate poisonings. Chewing the paint off a toy should be what any informed person would consider safe. Chewing the paint off a toy once a week for 5 years probably is not.

    The silly part of this whole thing is these products are marketed to pet owners by the fact that the pet owners find the interesting shapes, and the brightly colored paints and dyes attractive. A plain white tennis or softball, is a fine toy for a dog, or even the ever favorite stick to throw. When my cats were babies, it used to drive me crazy that I’d spend good money on over priced toys, only to watch them play for hours with the boxes or wrappers the toys came in. Eventually I had to cure myself of impulse buying in the pet toy section of the store, and stick to the simple things they liked to play with that I could come up with at home for almost nothing - a piece of string with a wad of paper tied to the end, a strip of cardboard, the paper handle from a grocery bag, a small box, etc..

    I have a question for the folks who are up in arms about the discovery that paint isn’t safe to eat. How many of you thought paint was safe to eat before this amazing revelation was brought to your attention? Also, how many folks who buy chew toys figure it’s time to buy a new one after the pretty paint has been chewed off the old one?

  18. martin says:

    Trudy Jackson says:

    September 20th, 2007 at 2:25 pm
    I wonder how you would have your pet tested for Metal?

    Trudy,

    Just like people. Urine, hair, nails or blood. Urine & blood will show if metals are presently in the body. Hair & nails will show a longer history.

  19. Trudy Jackson says:

    Martin, Do you get it done at the vets? I guess that’s what I meant. Thanks.

  20. Trudy Jackson says:

    I wonder what it means if there is too much potassium in a persons body? That’s not a metal, but?

  21. Mrs. P. says:

    Trudy,
    Potassium levels are critical for proper muscle function, especially the heart. Both too high and too low can cause arrythmias.

  22. Trudy Jackson says:

    Mrs. P, thanks. But I wonder how You get too much? Does anyone know? Thanks again.

  23. KimS says:

    “How many of you thought paint was safe to eat before this amazing revelation was brought to your attention?”

    Thanks for the good point, Don!

    Wal-Mart is the slimeyest of the slime.
    Dogs chew things, get into trouble with it sometimes.
    I watch my dog like a hawk. His fave toy is a green tennis ball. Hope it’s not full of poison!!

  24. Mrs. P. says:

    Trudy,
    The most common cause for elevated potassium is an incorrectly drawn specimen, so it needs to be repeated. The second most common cause is kidney disease. Then comes weird diseases like Addisons and Lupus.
    HTH,
    Mrs.P

  25. Don Earl says:

    Kim,

    The sad part is that after half a century of pumping the fumes from leaded gasoline into the air, there’s probably more danger from lead in the dirt on a toy than anything on the toy itself.

    Consumer Affairs deserves kudos for taking the initiative to do this kind of testing and to report the results. They’re a bright light in a media blackout on important issues. At the same time, I think on this round it might have been helpful to have had a little more perspective to allow consumers to more accurately assess the risk. For example, if a pet chewed all the paint off a toy, what would be the total exposure, and, perhaps, how long would it take at that exposure level to present serious health risks. Or even, what other sources of heavy metals are pets exposed to that are unavoidable, which would make it prudent to avoid even a little bit of additional exposure wherever possible. I believe legitimate concerns are raised by the findings, although probably more from long term exposure. If nothing else, it’s certainly enlightening to see how WalMart’s management deals with legitimate concerns.

  26. Skittles says:

    I don’t think the lead was confined to the paint on the toys. At least that is the way I read the article. Case in point are the vinyl bibs and lunchboxes that were recalled. I believe the lead was in the vinyl/plastic itself. And yes, we are exposed to lead from the ground and other sources. But it is an accumulative toxin. We don’t need to add more. Add the lead in pet toys, dishes, lunchboxes, bibs, childrens toys etc. and its not long before you are loaded with the stuff. Just my opinion.

    Myself, I have no problem with Wal-Mart. I have shopped there in the past. But now that my eyes are opened to the dangers of imports, the shopping experience at most stores (not just Wal-Mart) is frustrating to say the least. While looking online for Made in U.S.A. products I came upon this….

    http://www.bloggingstocks.com/.....1#comments

    I believe this is a good thing and am making a list off of the entries here. The holiday season is fast approaching and I forsee American Companies with increased profits this year. Maybe this would be a good thread for your forum? Lots of people from different parts of the country on these blogs. What American industries/companies are in your neck of the woods?

  27. Trudy Jackson says:

    Mrs. P, Thanks so much.

  28. Elaine says:

    OH! Skittles, THANK YOU for that comment page! I went through the comments and write down websites I want to visit.

    Does anyone have time to organize these companies into categories? Such as clothing, toys, jewelry etc.

    I am going to try to get my immediate family to do a Made in USA Christmas.

  29. Skittles says:

    You’re welcome Elaine! Would love to see a thread on the forum for this. I think if we all input Made in USA companies we have in our areas or Made in USA companies we have experience with it would be simple enough. And would be really beneficial for the holidays.

  30. Trudy Jackson says:

    I’ll try it.


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