|Some tumblers found to contain high levels of lead in the paints coated onto their exterior surfaces|
Some tumblers found to contain high levels of lead in the paints coated onto their exterior surfaces
- The businesses in question voluntarily suspended sales of the problematic products and conducted recalls -
As the government has strengthened its regulations on the use of disposable products, and consumer awareness of environmental protection has been raised, the number of consumers who are purchasing and using hot and cold insulated tumblers (hereinafter referred to as tumblers) is increasing.
However, the Korea Consumer Agency (President Lee Hee-sook) found through its test and inspection on the safety and labelling of harmful substances for 24 paint-coated tumblers* distributed and sold in the domestic market that harmful substances were detected in the paints coated onto the exterior surfaces of some products, prompting consumers to pay extra attention to those tumblers.
* Products sold in coffee shops (4), stores for household items (3), stationery stores (3), large marts (4), and online shopping malls (5)
□ 4 products were found to contain lead in their exterior surfaces, and the product manufacturers in question voluntarily recalled the problematic products.
Metallic (stainless steel) tumblers whose exterior surfaces have been coated with paints for surface protection and aesthetic appearance are being sold a lot in the market. However, there are no standards for harmful substances regarding the exterior surfaces of food containers, even though the paints might contain harmful heavy metals, such as lead, in order to improve their color vividness and adhesive power.
According to the test on the content of harmful substances, 4 (16.7%) out of the 24 tested products were found to contain substantial amounts of lead in the paints coated onto the exterior surfaces of the products.
The‘Rilakkuma Stainless Steel Tumbler (face, 350ml)’ sold by MJC was found to contain 79,606mg/kg of lead, followed by ‘Heart Tumbler’ sold by Caffe Pascucci (46,822mg/kg), ‘New Modern Vacuum Tumbler (red)’ sold by Hollys Coffee (26,226mg/kg), and ‘S2019 BomBom Stainless Steel Tumbler’sold by Daiso (4,078mg/kg).
The 4 businesses in questions have voluntarily suspended sales of the problematic products, and recalled those products in order to secure consumer safety.
□ Standards for the management of harmful substances in the exterior surfaces of food containers, including tumblers, need to be prepared.
A tumbler is classified as a food container under the Food Sanitation Act, and the Standards and Specifications for Food Utensils, Containers and Packages, and currently, there are the safety standards for harmful substances regarding the interior surfaces which come into direct contact with food (the food-contact surfaces), but there are no standards for the exterior surfaces of food containers which do not come into contact with food (the non-food-contact surfaces).
* The total content of Pb (lead), Cd (cadmium), Hg (mercury), and Cr+6 (chromium) contained in synthetic resins, regenerated cellulose, paper and materials used to make containers and packaging should not exceed 100mg/kg.
Tumblers can be used by not only adults but also children, and if the paints coated onto the exterior surfaces of the tumblers contain lead, the harmful substance may be absorbed into the human body by direct contact with the skin and mouth, or through ingestion or inhalation of the paints that have peeled off.
In order to reduce the risk of exposure to lead, the government has restricted the amount of permissible lead in products that come into direct contact with the skin, including products for children (less than 90mg/kg for products whose exterior surfaces have been coated with paints), heat packs (less than 300mg/kg), and hygienic wet wipes (less than 20mg/kg), and Canada has also restricted the amount of lead allowed in all consumer products whose exterior surfaces have been coated with paints (less than 90mg/kg). Therefore, it is necessary to prepare standards for the management of harmful substances in the exterior surfaces of food containers, including tumblers.
Meanwhile, among the 24 products investigated for compliance with the Labelling Standards for Food, 23 products (95.8%) were found to be compliant with the Standards. The other one product did not indicate the materials used for manufacturing the product, and a food utensil-related symbol or icon on its product label.
The KCA plans to ask the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to set standards for harmful substances in the exterior surfaces of food containers which have been coated with paints.
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