Consider it our comeuppance for all those over-the-top kids' birthday parties.
The environmental advocacy group Center for Environmental Health (CEH) says bounce houses are chock-full of lead.
The ones they tested had more than 70 times the federal limit for lead in children's products under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
The houses are largely made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which has been cited as a problem in recent years by the Environmental Protection Agency because carcinogenic chemicals are released into the air during manufacture.
But the CEH says most of the PVC is coming in from out of the country -- and it's loaded with lead.
According to a report in California newspaper SFGate, the real problem is the lead is transferred from the vinyl to a child's hand during play and then to the mouth.
As lead builds up in a child's body, it can literally poison kids, causing:
- Behavior or attention problems
- Failure at school
- Hearing problems
- Kidney damage
- Reduced IQ
- Slowed body growth
The amount in a bounce house isn't likely to poison kids in one fell swoop, but it can make them sick. And each time a child is exposed to lead, it builds up in the body -- add it to other occurrences (like those juice boxes), and poisoning is a problem.
The California attorney general is going after bounce house makers right now, while bounce house makers are fighting back.
Is this changing your birthday party plans?
Image via GraceFamily/Flickr