Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday's Rant: Lead in Target products

Those of you have read this blog for a while might recall that on Tuesdays I used to feature a weekly “Rant” where I complained about things I did NOT like about Target. In the past few months I deviated from that format, but I’m going to try to get back into it as I identify issues/concerns I have with the Bullseye.

Today’s rant is about known harmful products on Target’s shelves. In the post-holiday clearance, I was thrilled to pick up these Café String Lights (by Smith & Hawken) for a whopping 75% off! I picked up two sets at just $3.74 each (regularly $14.99 each set). I was so excited about my “bargain”… until I got them home and read the following disclaimer (in HUGE text) on the back of the box:

“CAUTION: Prop. 65 WARNING – Handling the coated electrical wires of this product exposes you to lead, a chemical known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm. Wash hands after use”.

Huh????? I don’t recall seeing this type of warning on any other light set I’ve ever bought at Target. The Christmas lights I just bought there a few weeks ago certainly didn’t contain lead in them; why are these made with cancer-causing agents? I just don’t get it, and I don’t need this sort of headache. There are enough toxins we unknowingly come in contact with every day; I certainly don't need to KNOWINGLY come into contact with lead. I’ll be returning these lights as soon as possible.


lise said...

I wasn't aware either about the lead content found on holiday lighting wires until my hubby (who loves to decorate our house's exterior with every imaginable lighting) reminded me about it. apparently lead is used in the pvc jacketing of christmas light cords (see this article: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Nov08/leadXmasLights.sl.html)

btw, just discovered your blog via another blog. love the content. oh I might be from your area because I also fondly remember going to Gemco (which is now a Target I frequent) during family outings.

Target-Addict said...

Thanks for the article, Lise! I'll definitely need to check the warnings/disclaimers on ANY light sets from now on :-)

hestermomma said...

I had this warning on an ornament tree I bought from Target on Clearance last year. I didn't notice it until I went to put it out in my LR this year. I wondered what would have happened if I hadn't noticed the WARNING.

The Queen of Clearance said...

I went to target like you, for the after Christmas clearance. I got an ipod player for 2 dollars. i was so excited i opened and i put batteries in it and have been using it for a week. i saw the box on the table today where i left it in my excitement over such a great deal! I went to throw it away and saw the same warning about lead on the back of the box. I'm horrified. Rightfully so....? Am i over reacting? I went to look at the other stuff i had put away from next year...4 things i bought have this warning. I'm angry at target...why would they make things with lead? Should i really have to wash my hands every time i plug in my penguin nightlight every year? should i wash my hands every time i use my ipod? I'm disappointed. Should i throw these things away? i of course do not have a receipt...what to do? Thanks for your blog...glad im not alone in my disappointment. Might have to post this on my blog as well to warn others.

Target-Addict said...

Queen of Clearance, first off, thanks for reading my blog. And secondly, congrats for finding an iPod for just TWO dollars - amazing!!

As for your questions: I completely understand and share your concerns. I am no expert on this, but I did find this interesting article from MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21151552/

If you read it, it sounds like even though lead in consumer electronic products is a concern, an equal concern are these "tin whiskers" which renders the devices unstable. I guess we just need to wait until the scientists who specialize in this stuff find a solution to both problems. In the meantime, I would encourage consumers to read product labels carefully in order to avoid lead products, and to wash their hands after excessive usage of any products known to contain lead.