Monday, August 11, 2008
Medical Reports: Toting Trouble
A diaper bag is a staple for new parents with a baby, but a Seven News investigation found, when packing up your baby's stuff, you might be toting trouble. Seven's Richard Lemus is here with the story.
WSVN -- Leaving the house for a few hours with a baby can often be like packing for a long trip.
Robin Jaffee: "I have my baby bottles, the diapers, the wipes, the toys."
New mom Robin Jaffee shoves everything she could possibly need for Lilly into her diaper bag.
Robin Jaffee: "Everything and anything, basically when we walk out the door, I have the bag filled."
In turn, Lilly shoves anything she can into her little mouth. She especially likes chewing on her diaper bag.
Robin Jaffee: "She chews one everything. She chews on the diaper bag handle."
Something Robin never considered dangerous.
Robin Jaffee: "You just assume it's going to be safe when you buy it in stores."
But Seven News bought five diaper bags in retail stores, all of them came with changing pads. We took them to a certified lab where they tested the bags for lead. The results were stunning.
Mike Zappala: "It's extremely high. These are pretty much off the scale."
If paint tests higher than 600 parts per million for lead, it's considered toxic. On this bag, the tan fabric near the zipper tested way above that, 1489 parts per million. That's twice the limit for lead paint, and the outside fabric on this bag was about the same, 1476 parts per million.
Mike Zappala: "I didn't think that these children's things would have, you know, this much lead in it."
Two changing pads in two different bags also had high levels of lead. The changing pad from this bag had 1453 parts per million, and the changing pad from this leopard bag had the highest levels of lead, 2269 parts per million. That's more than three times the limit for paint.
Dr. Mark Gabay, Chief Pediatric Resident, Miami Children's Hospital: "Parents should absolutely be concerned about lead at any stage of a child's life."
Experts say contact with your baby and the changing pad shouldn't be of too much concern, but they do worry about infants biting and chewing on them while being changed.
Dr. Mark Gabay: "So if infants are actually chewing on these diaper bags or diaper pads that is of concern, and they could get intoxication from these routes."
Since lead builds up in our bodies over time, doctors say it can be extremely toxic for developing children.
Dr. Mark Gabay: "It has multiple side effects. It affects your behavior. It affects your thinking, your growth, your hearing."
But the government's main watchdog, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, considers diaper bags and the changing pads inside them adult products, saying, "We believe the exposure to a child would be minimal." So, right now, there is no protection for parents.
Dr. Mark Gabay: "I would recommend a more organic-based material or a cloth-based material."
Robin is outraged, and with a daughter who likes to put everything in her mouth, she plans to make some big changes.
Robin Jaffee: "It seems like everything now has lead in it, whether it's a high percentage or low, but I don't care what percentage it, if it has lead in it, I don't even want to use it."
Richard Lemus: "Doctors recommend babies one to two years old get a basic blood test to check the levels of lead in their system."