New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) - Consumer
and Environmental Health Services and Childhood Lead Poisoning
Prevention are making notice of a potential Lead poisoning
hazard from vinyl miniblinds. The U.S.
Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) announced June 25, 1996
that after testing and analyzing imported vinyl miniblinds, they
determined that some of these blinds can present a lead poisoning
hazard for young children.
alert addresses the non-glossy, vinyl miniblinds that have lead
added to stabilize the plastic in the blinds. They are imported
from China, Taiwan, Mexico, and Indonesia. The CPSC found that
over time the plastic deteriorates from exposure to sunlight
and heat to form lead dust on the surface of the blind. The Arizona
and North Carolina Departments of Health and CPSC conducted testing
to confirm the hazard. Arizona reported that 63% of miniblind
dust samples exceeded the federal limit for lead dust on window
sills with readings ranging from 722 ug/sq.ft. to 2,874 ug/sq.ft.
They also reported a specific lead poisoning case involving a
one-year old exposed to miniblind lead dust at 1,021 ug/sq.ft.
and had a blood-lead level of 37 ug/dL. North Carolina found
that 45 of the 52 miniblind dust samples exceeded 100 ug/sq.ft.,
the standard for lead contamination of floor dust. The highest
level reported by North Carolina was 66,440 ug/sq.ft. The mean
level for all their 52 miniblind dust samples was 4,342 ug/sq.ft.
North Carolina also reported that 79% of all miniblinds exceeded
0.5% by weight, with the highest concentration slightly above
2.0%. The CPSC recommends that consumers remove these vinyl miniblinds
in homes where children under age 6 may be present.
children can ingest lead by wiping their hands on the blinds and
then putting their hands in their mouths. Washing children's hands
frequently will help reduce a child's exposure to lead. Lead poisoning
in children is associated with behavioral problems, learning disabilities,
hearing problems, and growth retardation. Children under age 6,
particularly those less than 2 years, who have been expose
to these miniblinds should be screened for lead poisoning.
DOH is recommending the
following steps to reduce andy lead dust hazard associated with
vinyl miniblinds. The vinyl miniblinds should
be removed intact and placed in heavy duty plastic
bags for disposal. Persons should wash hands
thoroughly after handling the miniblinds. Prior
to disposal, consumers may wish to contact the
store where blinds were purchased or the manufacturer
for any recall, exchange, or refund information.
Areas near windows that used the vinyl miniblinds
should be cleaned. Cleaning can be accomplished
by using a cloth dampened with warm water containing
dishwashing detergent or all-purpose cleaner to clean windows and
any non-carpeted floor near the window. The window sill and frame
should be cleaned including the inside area of the window when
it is open, followed by the floor and moldings
near the window. Cleaning cloths should be disposed
of in plastic bags. The preferred way of cleaning
carpets is by using steam or other wet method.
The potential of lead exposure from miniblinds
should be considered as part of an environmental
CPSC asked the Window Covering Safety Council representing the
industry to no longer produce vinyl miniblinds
containing lead. The manufacturers have
made the change and new miniblinds without
added lead should have appeared on store
shelves beginning around July 1 and should
become widely available over the next 90 days.
For information on how to contact the DOH or other organizations mentioned in this article, please refer to the Indoor Environments Contacts page.