A Burbank manufacturer of inflatable bounce houses is being sued by the state for allowing too much lead in its products.
Last month the California Attorney General’s Office went after 11 manufacturers of the popular inflatable structures, saying the houses contain more than 300 parts per million of lead, the legal limit under federal rules. In filing the lawsuit, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown also noted that the standard set by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission will be even more strict in August 2011, allowing only 100 ppm.
The Burbank firm, Magic Jump Inc., says its products are safe and that it is cooperating in the case.
The state lawsuit follows civil litigation launched by the private Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health.
Representatives for the center and the attorney general’s office said they are not aware of any cases where children have been made sick directly by exposure to the lead in the bounce houses.
But Center for Environmental Health spokesman Charles Marguiles said the dangers of lead in toys, baby bibs, jewelry and other products is cumulative.
“It would be unlikely for there to be an acute problem for a child playing in these,” Marguiles said. “But every unnecessary exposure is an exposure you want to eliminate.”
In a response to the lawsuit on its website, https://www.magicjump.com, the company says the legal claims are based on a single test of vinyl from 2006. It also says that Magic Jump’s then-supplier of polyvinyl advertised its product as lead-free and that Magic Jump has since switched to a supplier that certifies the product is lead-free.
“MJI has been in touch with the … supplier who continues to assure that the material used in all products it currently supplies to MJI are lead-free, of the highest quality, and in compliance with all laws. In the meantime, MJI believes the products in its current inventory are safe.”
Deputy Atty. Gen. Jamie Jefferson said it is possible that the manufacturers were duped by polyvinyl suppliers, and that the state is looking into whether it should charge other companies in the case.
Jefferson also said the state is in settlement talks with some of the defendants, though she declined to say which ones.
The state could seek substantial fines for each violation of Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Jefferson acknowledged that under the law, manufacturers could simply post a warning label on their products regarding the high levels of lead.
But, she said, “That wouldn’t be our goal. We just want to make sure the product is safe.”