Lead: The Silent Epidemic

Episode 78: Gutsy Health Podcast 

 

Click Here to Get the Transcript for Free!

 

Show Summary:  “It causes so many things because it's one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man, and it also impacts pretty much every biological system, but there's no outward symptom.”

 

Moms are known for being very protective of their little ones. But the question is, how far are they willing to go to give the best life to their kids? How much effort can they give to raise awareness to their fellow moms about the toxins contributing to children's brain damage?

 

In this episode, Juanique and Gina ask Tamara Rubin everything she knows about the harmful effects of Lead. Tamara is a child health advocate, author, environmental activist, and documentary filmmaker. Her son was acutely poisoned when a painter they hired used an open flame torch to burn the paint off their house's exterior. Now, he has severe OCD, has ADHD and Dyslexia, and all sorts of learning disabilities. This ignited her mission even more, to tell the world, specifically moms, to protect their kids from the dangers of Lead.

 

She publishes new blogs almost every day and educates people where it exists, such as toys and even cooking dishes. Listen as she shares tips on properly choosing the best materials you can use at home to minimize your family's exposure to Lead.

Important Links

Gutsy Health Website

Lead Safe Mama

Heavy Metals Class

MisLEAD: America’s Secret Epidemic

Instagram

Youtube

Facebook


Exceptional Highlight:

 

  • Main forms of exposure are inhalation and ingestion. But the thing is it's not like eating paint chips. That's a myth. A child doesn't need to eat a paint chip to be poisoned.
  • The Lead industry have made a concerted effort to hide this information from us intentionally, to hide the damaging impacts of Lead
  • The same people who worked on the tobacco industry campaigns to make sure that you think cigarettes are safe are those people who also initially designed the Lead poisoning obfuscation campaign, making you think that Lead paint is safe.

 

Show Highlights: 

 

Why is Lead a silent epidemic?

 

Tamara 1:08

 

  • But the reason it's a silent epidemic or a secret epidemic is because there's no outward symptom.

 

Do any toys have any kind of metal in it?

 

Tamara 8:38

 

  • I do want to give people some hope. As much as there's Lead in everything, we also need to not be afraid and we need to not live in fear.

 

How does XRF instrument work?

 

Tamara 13:25 - 

 

  • If your readers or listeners go to eBay and look for a used XRF instrument, they're going to find used ones from 5 to $10,000. The problem is that's not the right instrument. The instrument I use is the one specifically used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

 

Transcript (DOWNLOAD)

 

This is the Gutsy Health Podcast with Jaunique and Tristin Roney.

 

Juanique Roney

Hey, you guys, welcome back to the Gutsy Health Podcast. We have Gina Worful with us. She's my co-host and we have a very, very, very special guest, Tamara Rubin. Welcome ladies.

 

Gina Worful

 Hi everybody.

 

Tamara Rubin

Hi, thanks for having me.

 

Juanique Roney

You guys, you may or may not have heard Tamara's name in the news or in the media. Online she is Lead Save Mama. Her Instagram handle is at Lead Save Mama. Her website is www.LeadSaveMama.com and she has a documentary calLead Miss Lead. And if it's not obvious, our topic today is about Lead heavy metals. We're going to mainly talk about the Lead issue and how this is-- What is it that you coined Tamara, a silent epidemic? Why is that?

 

Tamara Rubin

It's interesting because a lot of people use that since then, because I have been saying that for over a decade now. But the reason it's a silent epidemic or a secret epidemic is because there's no outward symptom like one of the experts in my film talks about, we didn't actually include this in the film, if it was a disease or if it caused a disease that left you with bright orange purple spots all over your body, people would know about it. And since it's  a disease that leaves you with nonspecific symptoms that many attribute to other causes or other causes identified, or the fact that there's a causal link between Lead poisoning and whatever the other symptoms might be and I'll get into that later. But since it's a nonspecific correlative or causal link in terms of the visual impacts, in terms of what people experience and see, people think it's not a problem. They don't understand the gravity of the problem.

 

Juanique Roney

Right.

 

Tamara Rubin

And the main issue is that it causes so many things because it's a it's one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man. And it also impacts pretty much every biological system. And for example, one of the nonspecific impacts is ADD, ADHD that so many kids are suffering from that in a way that is pretty profound. Like there's a lot of effort in the media to dismiss the impacts of ADHD. But those of us who have children who have severe ADHD know that it's real. And then those of us who have had that link to their Lead exposure know that that link is real. And also the doctors, the scientists, Dr. Lanphier and others have done extensive research showing the links between ADHD and severe ADHD and Lead exposure is on top of that. We've got kidney disease, increased risk of heart disease, arthritis, memory impairments, all these things that people think are old age that are really old age in a new way, linked now, since the post-industrial revolution time and the one big change we've had is the pervasiveness of Lead in our air, water, soil and the environment as a whole.

 

Juanique Roney

Well, and would you say that the majority of the population or of citizens think that Lead is actually illegal in the United States?

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah.

 

Juanique Roney

And it's prevalent. It's in everything, everything. So we're going to go into your story in a little bit. But I want listeners to really tune in right now, because you have found Lead in dishes, in children's toys. And this is like far above and beyond legal limits, far above and beyond. What else have you found it? You have still found it in paint. So what is it still allowed in?

 

Tamara Rubin

Lead is still legally allowed in gasoline, even though people think it was banned. You can go to gas stations across our country and find Leaded gasoline pomps or you can find Lead of gasoline that you can purchase it by the container full. Lead is still out in paint as long as it's not house paint. Lead is still out in jewelry. As long as it's not meant for children. It's allowed in cosmetics, it's allowed in machining equipment. Once it's in machining equipment of products that are manufactured, that machining equipment contaminates any product.

 

Juanique Roney

A product especially known as like chocolate. Chocolates is the big one that is heavily Lead contaminated because they're still spraying pesticides with Lead in in third world countries. It's being delivered in like, well, the tractors are still using Lead based, you know, gasolines. And then it's shipped on shipping containers, which are still allowed to be painted and use gas materials. It's being exposed from Lead source to Lead source to Lead source. Sorry I interrupted you, but you mentioned paint like our bridges, our road paint like all of that has Lead in it. It's shocking.

 

Gina Worful

So what are the different ways it that the Lead actually comes off from all these places? Do we inhale it and it's just coming off? What about like lead toys? How is it actually coming off? Is it just leaving the material and we can ingest it or we can breathe it in or we can, you know.

 

Juanique Roney

The main forms of exposure are inhalation and ingestion. It's interesting because skin absorption is controversial. And I think one of the reason it is controversial is because just because there's been limited study, I think that that if we did some more studies, we'd find more evidence of potential for skin absorption of Lead. The main concern is ingestion. But the thing is, it's not like eating paint chips off the minute. A child doesn't need to eat a paint chip to be poisoned. For those of us who are parents and have children, we get really upset when people boil it down to that or when people joke about eating paint chips like Stephen Colbert made a joke about eating paint chips recently. And I'm just like, stop, stop. And I actually wrote him tweeted that people don't understand. You wouldn't make a joke about another marginalized population in that way. And people are still making jokes about people be eating paint chips and that's why they're stupid.

 

Juanique Roney

Oh, my gosh.

 

Tamara Rubin

There are children who eat paint chips and those stories are tragic. And I'll share one with you in that just as an example. If the child didn't, like, pick paint chips off the wall necessarily. This one child I know, who's severely disabled, when he was a little baby, his parents lived in an apartment where there was construction going on next door. So what a little boy is like and I'm sorry for gender stereotyping little children like. What a little children like tractors. I love watching construction equipment. So he would sit by the window and watch the tractors build and the construction equipment build the new building next door. And he would take his little cup of goldfish crackers and he would dump them out in the windowsill and he would sit and eat his goldfish crackers one by one from his windowsill sill. Well, what was he eating with those? He was eating the paint chips that were in the windowsill and in the window well. He wasn't even paint chips living Bullfinch Packards. And so, yeah, you can and that will cause severe disabilities. But normally it's dust, it's microdots that you can't see. Generally that's caused by renovation from older homes. That's the most significant source of Lead exposure. And what people don't understand and there's this post about all of everything I say. There's a post about it on my blog. But this thing, a lot of scientists say our talk about how it takes a sugar packet worth of Lead dust to contaminate an entire football field.

 

Juanique Roney

Unbelievable.

 

Tamara Rubin

If you take a sugar packet and pretend that's Lead dust and ground it up evenly and spread it evenly across a football field. That's enough to contaminate a football field to thirty eight micrograms of Lead dust per square foot.

 

Gina Worful

Wow.

 

Gina Worful

Yeah, the hazard level used to be forty micrograms that they said was enough to poison the child. But they now know and have known for a couple of decades that levels as low as five micrograms of Lead dust per square foot can poison a child. And that's Dr Lanphear work and he's in my film. So one half of a sugar pack would be twenty, almost twenty and one quarter would be almost ten. So it's one eighth of a sugar packet spread evenly across a football field is enough. Lead Dust to poison a child.

 

Juanique Roney

Unbelievable. Oh, that's insane. Well, and what listeners need to understand is this is not a poor and minority community issue. This is an everybody issue. Do your children have toys that are plastic? Do they have boats? Do any toys have any kind of metal in it? There's probably Lead in that, probably.

 

Tamara Rubin

I do want to give people some hope, right? Yes. As much as there's Lead in everything and a lot of everything's not in quite everything, but a quite a few thing, we also need to not be afraid and we need to not live life in fear. And so I tell people that in general, new toys made after 2011 are going to be Lead free, especially if they're mass manufactured by major brands like, I don't know, Mattel or Fisher-Price or even green toys. There's a lot of toy companies that are being compliant with the new regulations. The regulations went into effect in 2008. So people say, oh, after what year are toy safe? And I say 2011 and they like what? How is that possible? What are you talking about? Well, we actually didn't have regulatory standards until 2008 and it took years for those to phase in and took years for companies to phase in compliance. They were given the time to phase in compliance. So those 2011 toys really should be safe, although there are exceptions and the exceptions are like with the fidget spinners where Target said, oh, those are not for children. I'm like, what?

 

Juanique Roney

Wow.

 

Tamara Rubin

You know, I mean, if they're not manufactured for children, then they potentially have unsafe levels of Lead, cadmium, antimony, sometimes even mercury. And so that's where you have to kind of definitely read the labels and not.. OK, so I don't. Do you have children, I'm assuming?

 

Juanique Roney

Yes.

 

Tamara Rubin

Are they the boys and girls?

 

Juanique Roney

I have a seven year old boy and a four year old girl.

 

Tamara Rubin

So I'm lucky in a way that this is not my problem yet. Well, it might be eventually, but I have boys and they're not that into jewelry, although my 12 year old is getting into jewelry so this may change. But my biggest concern when it comes to this kind of mix up where parents buy things for children that aren't intended for children is costume jewelry because the little girls wanting to play dress up and again, I'm gender stereotyping. I'm fifty one we do this. You think about it. It's in our imagery of little girls playing with jewelry and doing dress up. And I mean my kids do dress up too but it's the jewelry that's the problem because parents go to the store, Oh look at this cheap piece of jewelry. It's lovely. My four year old daughter would have so much fun playing with this and they buy it, not thinking there's a warning for children over 16 because it contains toxic chemicals and so should it be played with by children.

 

Gina Worful

So would that be enough that you would say, really, no one should be wearing cheap jewelry even as an adult?

 

Tamara Rubin

Well, again, there's always hopeful exceptions to this. But yes, because you touched on two issues there, cheap jewelry and adults. And so the problem is that all of these standards are only for children. But that doesn't mean that these toxic levels of chemicals don't impact adults. It's just that the regulatory standards have not been applied to the adult arena because then manufacturers would be able to make all of this stuff. It's poisonous to adults too, especially the cadmium levels found in a lot of the newer jewelry. But there's no regulatory limit. And so then in terms of costume jewelry, I say if it's vintage, I mean, the biggest offender is your grandmother or your mother, depending on how old you are, you are vintage full pearls.

 

Gina Worful

Interesting.

 

Tamara Rubin

If they feel and look like real pearls, if they're heavy and if you bite them and they feel like they might be pearls, which that's how we tell if a real pearls of pearl, we bite it, they can be made of glass painted with Lead paint and they can be three hundred thousand parts per million Lead on the top of the sea level for Lead and poises.

 

Juanique Roney

Wow.

 

Gina Worful

Wow.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah, so that said, the hope part is I've been to target these gorilla XRF  testing videos and XRF technology is what I use to test consumer goods for toxicants, heavy metals. I'm trained and certified in using this instrument that.

 

Gina Worful

Can you explain that a little bit, that instrument, how that works?

 

Juanique Roney

Yes, because I saw it in your documentary and I was looking that I'm like, can anyone just buy that and test stuff in their house? Like, how do we do this for ourselves? So go ahead and tell us about this instrument that you have.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah, yeah. You have fifty thousand dollars and it can be verified. You can totally buy one yourself.

 

Juanique Roney

Oh my gosh. Holy cow.

 

Tamara Rubin

And some people do have fifty thousand dollars and buy one themselves. I don't right now and I've managed at some point I had a relationship with the company. They loaned me one for free for a couple of years and then that didn't work out because of politics. It's interesting.

 

Juanique Roney

Always.

 

Tamara Rubin

Then I got my hands on a used one. If you can get a used one for usually between twenty five and thirty thousand dollars. The problem is if you or if your readers or listeners go to eBay and look for used XRF instrument, they're going to find useful ones for five or ten thousand dollars. The problem is that's not the right instrument. The instrument I use is the one specifically used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It's a fancy different one than most people use. The instrument that most people use is just for testing for Lead in paint and it tests in MG percent and Leaders square. The instrument I use test for all metals that are detectable with the next RF instrument, and that's most metals like I can test for silver and gold and platinum and cobalt and barium and all the metals, and it does it with an algorithm that represents the metals in parts per million. So the cheap instruments only test for Lead and use a radioactive source and don't test in parts per million. The expensive instrument meant for testing consumer goods is a non-radioactive to based x ray tests in parts per million and test more metals other than Lead. And the interesting thing is, so people sometimes say, oh, I'll just test for Lead and I'm just going to use the cheap instrument. But the problem is then this gets very sciency sorry.

 

Juanique Roney

It's okay.

 

Gina Worful

We like science.

 

Juanique Roney

Yeah, we're really into this right now. Keep going.

 

Tamara Rubin

So I actually teach classes. I've taught classes in college settings and elementary school and middle school. I have fun when I come in as a guest teacher and I really love talking about science. So the problem is that the Lead based paint instruments do readings in milligrams per centimeter squared and so they're low threshold of detection is one milligram per  centimeter squared in most cases. And so if they get a number, that's less than one milligram per centimeter squared, say, for example, you have a Lead hazard inspector doing infection on your home and you ask them to test a toy and the toy comes in negative for his test. And because it came in less than one milligram per centimeter squared. Well, one milligram per centimeter square with is roughly equivalent to five thousand parts per million.

 

Juanique Roney

Right.

 

Gina Worful

Wow.

 

Tamara Rubin

It's not negative even by any standards except of federal standard.

 

Juanique Roney

And remind people how many parts per million is actually acceptable.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah. So the current federal standard and also the international standard and that's why I've been using this number since before it was the federal standard I've been talking about. It is that in paint laser coating of an item intended for use by children, it's not supposed to be more than 90 parts per million Lead. And in the substrate, which is like the ceramic underneath the glaze, it's not supposed to be more than a hundred parts per million Lead. So we have these paint based hazard assessors going testing people's toys with the wrong instrumentation, telling them they're negative when they really could be as much as four thousand, five thousand parts per million Lead.

 

Juanique Roney

So I'm going to try and like break this down for people in like I'm going to use sugar, for instance, because most people know that we're only supposed to get like twenty four grams of sugar a day. So this would be like an inspector. You take a cake to an inspector and be like, Inspector, I need to eat less than twenty four grams of sugar a day. Can you test this cake to make sure that it has less than twenty four grams of sugar a day is instrument will only tell you if it has less than a thousand grams of sugar.

 

Tamara Rubin

Exactly.

 

Juanique Roney

So let's say the. Has 500 grams of sugar and he's testing the cake and he's like, it's negative. Look, it has no sugar in it, you're safe and you're like, so now you go and eat this cake that has 500 grams of sugar in when you're only supposed to be in twenty four. But it's OK because his instrument told you there's less than a thousand. Is that kind of what's happening?

 

Gina Worful

That's an interesting analogy.

 

Juanique Roney

Yeah.  I hope that makes sense to people because these are a lot of buzz words that you're using and so a lot of people probably won't be able to like translate it. And so that's why I say, like, you know, it's comparable to that. It's saying, well, it's less than a thousand, so you're fine. And my machine says there's nothing in it because there's less than a thousand. My machine only tests over a thousand. That's ridiculous. That's ridiculous. It's unsafe. We're being mislead into this false narrative of safety when really our exposure to these things is above and beyond safe limits.

 

Tamara Rubin

Right and again, I'm going to step back. I love that you're outraged.

 

Juanique Roney

I watched your documentary last night, that's why I'm outraged, because, like, I'm not even kidding. So I was I want to tell listeners this. I was watching it with my best friend who's staying with me from South Africa. And she was watching and she was outraged. And she's like, I need to be on this podcast. I need to be the one in the background gasping and saying, that's insane. And I'm like, I have another mic , I have another mic. It can be the four of us chatting. Now, she was outraged, too. So that's why I'm like all fired up about this, because it's really sad to me that I have not heard of this epidemic ever. I thought I was a very intelligent person and I thought I was very well read, but that there's no protection. No one cares. We'll talk about that later, but keep going.

 

Tamara Rubin

That's one of the scenes in my movie where I say basically what you just said to to the EPA scientist Roney. Well, I thought I knew about this. I thought I knew what I knew. And I had no idea what I knew. And I thought and I I rationalized and I said, oh, I don't know what I thought I knew because I was born after the ban hour I was born. I was a little kid when the ban on Lead happened. Well, the fact of the matter is the reason I don't know what I thought I knew or what I thought I knew isn't right is because of the politics of it. And we mentioned that earlier before we started. And the politics are such that the Lead industry has made a concerted effort to intentionally hide this information from us, that to hide the damaging impacts of Lead, to limit the knowledge of the correlative impact between Lead and health impairments, specific health impairments that have financial cost associated with them so that people can't be freaked out in that way. My favorite report and again, I'm a geek on this stuff, I know way too many nuances but one of my favorite reports is a report from Dr. who worked at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and then went to NYU Medical Center. And he's a pediatrician, but also a researcher, an epidemiologist, I think to some degree. And he did a report showing that the total cost of all environmental contaminants combined on the health of our children. So we're talking about mercury and BPA and phosphate and all the different things. When you add all of this together, environmental contaminants cost on the impact of the health of our children was, in his estimation at the time, seventy six point six billion dollars annually, about seventy six point six billion, fifty point nine billion dollars  was that impact came from Lead. Two thirds of the impact was from Lead. And one third is all of the other chemicals combined.

 

Juanique Roney

Well, and here's another thing that you guys brought up in the documentary is if we instill laws to help protect children and to clean up the environment, not only would you be making jobs, but you'd be stimulating the economy and then we'd be saving money long term on health care and damage control, basically, for lack of a better word. But why is that not happening?

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah, well, and so that's the other fun, disgusting answer. This is like a fun fact in a weird way, I guess what I'm saying. The Lead industry has made record profits every year, year over year, every year. Every year Lead industry publishes reports that show that they made more profits than they ever made before.

 

Juanique Roney

So its substance we thought was banned, a substance we thought that was illegal. This industry is making more and more and more money. Who are they selling their product to?

 

Tamara Rubin

So there's two, there's two main uses of it. And then there's all these other kind of peripheral usages that we see like so briefly usages are letting glaze and Lead and paint some gasoline. Things were really it's minor, but they're still in use. The two main sources of the income from the Lead industry are batteries for cars and bullets.

 

Juanique Roney

What? Yeah, isn't that insane? That's insane.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah, the one thing people don't get is when we talk about the NRA and we talk about the gun industry, as a rule, they think of it as a gun industry. It's not a gun industry. There's there's not a lot of money in the guns. All the money is in the Lead.

 

Juanique Roney

That's insane. That blows my mind. So people that are hunting and actually eat their food. Like their are foods are contaminated with Lead, because when you're hitting that bullet, you know, there's like microfiber, like metal microfiber is just being blasted out of that and into whatever you're killing.

 

Tamara Rubin

And I didn't know that maybe you were more aware of this because you're in Utah.

 

Gina Worful

Oh I never thought about that.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah. So I grew up near Boston and I was in the Boy Scouts. I was actually an Explorer Scout when I was 16. They let girls join and I used to shoot twenty twos. So I had some experience with shooting. I'm not like, you know, it's not like I've never touched a gun before. But I and I knew the mechanics of shooting a can off of a tree stump, that sort of thing. What I didn't realize is that when you shoot a deer in the woods and you're hunting to bring that to your home for me, you're shooting it with shot, that the weight of the deer is so enormous that when you hit the belly of that deer, it fragments throughout the animal. This Lead fragments throughout the animal and that's how it kills it. It bleeds to death from these tiny fragments going from its gut around the animal. Now, what happens is hunters then cut the animal open and dump the gut pile in the forest and leave it there so the animal doesn't weigh as much for them to carry out of the forest, which totally makes sense. And then scavenger birds like eagles and California condors who are almost extinct eat those gut piles and become complacent and die. So we have our symbol of our country, the American Eagle, dying and being Lead poisoned every day from gut pile left in the wild. Now, the great thing is that hunters are conservationists at heart. They are really amazing people. They enjoy nature and preserving nature. There's a wonderful movie called Scavenger Hunt by Wild lends out about the preservation of the California Condor and has interviews with hunters showing that they really want to do the right thing. The Lead in bullets is not a nonstarter. There are Lead free bullets and they only cost a couple pennies more than leaded bullets. And guess who pioneered Lead-free bullets? In the military.

 

Juanique Roney

Oh my gosh. Really?

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah.

 

Gina Worful

Interesting.

 

Tamara Rubin

But there's this whole movement to preserve Lead-free bullets as it's a constitutional right and things like that, which is if you can still shoot, you can still hunt, you can still have bullets. It's just a few pennies more. Why wouldn't you choose the one that's not going to poison our environment? Well, the reason is, like everything else, they don't know. People don't know.

 

Juanique Roney

Education, education. We have no clue. I had no clue that it was a Lead industry still that was making profits and more and more profits every year. This is insane. Is there anything else you want to mention about this industry before I go to my next question and this topic?

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah, I guess everything the one thing I did want to say was that if they wrote the playbook for how to obfuscate the truth and they're the ones who came up with the marketing campaigns that tried to make people feel good about things when they bought them and the main industry that took their playbook because they were they figure all this out in nineteen hundred to 1910. Right. And the main industry that everyone knows that knows is evil that took the same playbook for marketing strategies and promotional materials to make you think that their product safe is the tobacco industry. So actually the same people who worked on the tobacco industry campaigns to make sure that you think cigarets are safe and that your favorite doctor smokes this one brand of cigaret. Those people also designed the initially designed the Lead Poisoning Obfuscation campaign, basically making you think that Lead paint is safely, that Lead paint is good for your children. Lead is good for your home. Lead is good for your community. You need Lead for these things. If you didn't have Lead, where would you be? Lead is glorious.

 

Juanique Roney

I want to take that a step further and another industry that is taking a play from their playbook is the sugar industry as well. The sugar industry, very powerful lobbyists. I mean, their outreach is global and like sugar is a legal drug and it is glorified and it is marketed and they even use social media and the media to be like, it's healthy for you because it's like high fructose corn sirup is from corn. So it's technically a vegetable. You know, this is what our government is allowing to happen to us. We're being poisoned. We're being drugged. We're having chemicals dumped into our body. I want to go back to the Lead industry back in the nineties because this is in the documentary. You guys need to go watch this documentary. It's on YouTube. It's called MisLead. But the Lead industry was actually studying and keeping close tabs on the toxicity and the health effects that Lead was having in Australia and America, am I correct?

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah, well, in the early nineteen hundreds.

 

Juanique Roney

Yes. They were well aware that people were getting poisoned, and they and then they put out the most powerful marketing campaign called Dutch Boy, and they're like, look at this cute little Dutch boy. This Dutch boy is telling his parents to use our Lead based paint because it is so safe and it is so clean. So you should be like this Dutch boy. This is what they do and this is what they're still doing to us.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah.

 

Juanique Roney

Don't drink the lemonade. Don't do it, guys.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah. And here's another one. And I don't know. I don't know. I'm going to take a pause because you might want to not include this because you're in Utah. So another one is smaller companies and it's not fully the smaller companies fault, but the smaller companies, once they know better, they really should do better. And most of them do like there's the sunglass company. And I found that their sunglasses had cadmium, but it turned out it was just one single batch run.nd they figured out the the dates of the batch. They offered replacements to everyone. They got to taking care of and they fixed the problem.

 

Juanique Roney

Yes.

 

Tamara Rubin

The same thing happened with the Jumperoo. Is that from Utah? I think the Jumperoo  was from Utah.

 

Juanique Roney

I have no clue what a Jumperoo is, sorry.

 

Tamara Rubin

It's a toy. It's calLead the jumping jump through or Jumperoo or something. And it I don't know. It's an expensive toy that looks like a jungle gym. People in the house. But anyway, I found Lead in the jungle Jumperoo yellow bars and the company responded quickly. They figured out it was a batch issue. They reported it to the CPSC and all of this. So that's what a responsible company will do. Same thing with my favorite brand of water bottles hyder flask. I found Lead in hyder flask.

 

Juanique Roney

Wow.

 

Tamara Rubin

I was like, no our bottles are Lead free. I'm like, I'm sorry, your bottles are not Lead free. and they fix the problem. And they said, here our bottles are Lead phytic acid. You know what your new bottles are nonliterary

 

Juanique Roney

Unbelievable.

 

Tamara Rubin

And then, so then they fix the problem again and now finally all  hydro flask bottles, the new ones are Lead free but other aren't.

 

Juanique Roney

Can I ask about a company?

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah.

 

Tamara Rubin

You mentioned this in the documentary Burt's Bees. Their lipstick, are they now Lead-free or are they not? When my best friend I was watching this, she's like Jaunique. You have Burt's Bees in your purse, your daughter puts it on her face all the time. And I was losing my mind.

 

Gina Worful

I was always like, I'm doing my all natural. I am doing good.

 

Juanique Roney

Yes. Like this is the way I feel like I need a fifty thousand dollar Lead gun in my house so I can test everything.

 

Gina Worful

I think even then you would miss Burt's Bees because we're not talking about that the other part. OK, well there's so many layers.

 

Juanique Roney

I'm so sorry.

 

Tamara Rubin

OK, so the items like the baby food issue and the cosmetics issue, most of that is not detectable Lead. So there we're talking about in many cases, parts per billion and there's one thousand parts per billion and one part per million. The low threshold of detection for the XRF instrument is one part per million. So you can test negative with XRF but still have toxic stuff that's food or something that goes on your body. However, with some of the lipsticks, I've got some cheap knockoff lipstick. So the way my blood works is I have a core of about sixty thousand pretty hard core readers. I have last year I had over a million readers. The year before I had like one point five, but it dipped a little bit because of it. But I had like close to one point two million readers last year. Sixty thousand of those are my friends. And those sixty thousand people interact with me pretty much on a regular basis. I'm a little overwhelmed and they send me things to test. And so I'm clueless because I'm a little bit older than you guys. Like I said, I'm fifty one. So I don't know what's popular now with young moms. I don't know what everybody's using in their homes. Plus I'm kind of a Luddite and I don't  buy consumer goods so much because I just don't. But so they tell me what I should test. So this one mom sent me this lipgloss from Amazon and it tested over two thousand parts per million Lead when the lipstick threshold that they consider hazardous is around ten parts per million. I don't know if they're lowering that to seven.

 

Juanique Roney

And parts per million is worse than parts per billion, you guys.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yeah.

 

Juanique Roney

Right, it's like way more concentrated. So even though a million sounds smaller than billion, it's actually more. So keep going. Sorry.

 

Tamara Rubin

That's why that's confusing. I hadn't thought about it.

 

Gina Worful

That's good to know.

 

Tamara Rubin

So I can't test necessarily food or lipstick, but when I do test a food or lipstick item that's positive, it's outrageous because it's positive with an XRF instrument, which is way too much.

 

Gina Worful

With these products, let's say you get Lead free. Is it kind of similar to like, you know, we started seeing plastic that was like it's BPA free. So we want to think that it's good, but then maybe it's replaced with BPS or something else. Do you think it's that same kind of thing that like it's being replaced with something else now or is it. They left the Lead out and we can feel good about that.

 

Tamara Rubin

First off, never believe anything that says Lead free.

 

Juanique Roney

Oh my gosh.

 

Tamara Rubin

But there are very few exceptions to that. For example, not an exception, swiss pottery sells its potteries Lead free, but it has traced Lead. There's lots of different manufacturers that sell their products as Lead-Free, and they're not another one is extreme ceramic where they're sold as metal free, but they have like 14 different metals in them. When people, companies, especially smaller companies, say that the product is Lead free, what they normally mean, if it's a cookware product is that it's not leaching, that at the time of manufacture, the Lead won't leach into your food. The problem I have with that is that we don't know what happens to that beloved cooking pot or casserole dish 10, 15, 20, 30 years from now. And what we do know in the year 2021 is that we're using our grandmothers stock. We're using these cooking dishes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years. And so companies like, for example, Tupperware, when I found Lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic in their vintage pieces from like nineteen ninety and before Tupperware says, oh well, you know, those are old pieces, but they can't use that  as an excuse because they're marketing campaign has always been that these products will last forever.

 

Juanique Roney

Right.

 

Tamara Rubin

And so the problem is that they're not taking responsibility for their legacy products. So that's a tangent on the Lead free conversation. So there's lots of products. I mean, I probably have a couple of dozen products on my blog where I found companies saying that is Lead free and it's not. And the thing that bugs me is that they don't make a big deal when they switch. And they should when they finally switch, they should say, hey, we're finally Lead free. We made a mistake.

 

Juanique Roney

It should be a marketing campaign, like a massive marketing campaign. You should be yelling this from the rooftops. Why is it so quiet?

 

Tamara Rubin

Right. And so one of the big ones was Marble King Marbles. They made Lead free marbles and they marketed them for like we've been making Lead free marbles for one hundred years. I like I found that they had Lead in their marbles. So when I published that they had Lead in their marbles, their lawyer called me, basically threatened me, told me I had to take down my post. I'm like, I'm not taking out the post because you think they're wrong.

 

Juanique Roney

Unbelievable.

 

Tamara Rubin

So these models still have Lead in them. And then I kind of forgot about it because I just told people, you know, pretty much all marbles have Lead. I haven't really found a brand of marble that's Lead free. And I checked back last year and they changed all their language. They no longer use the Lead free language, so they made a positive change and they stopped greenwashing a product.

 

Juanique Roney

Yeah.

 

Tamara Rubin

But there's still vendors re selling their products out there as Lead free and they never made an announcement that, hey, we're not actually Lead free. We made a mistake.

 

Juanique Roney

Right. Right. I want to circle back to the kitchen because one of your questions here is can your family be poisoned by Leaded dishes? I didn't even know we had leaded dishes. How do we even know if we have Lead dishes? What are Leaded dishes? Why do dishes have Lead in them? Can you tell I am just in this, like, state of despair. I should probably have put a trigger warning on this podcast and we're like, guys, I am in tons of despair right now. Be mindful with your emotions, maybe turn this off for another day and listen to it when you're in a good mood. So I'm sorry. We digress. Tell us about the Lead. OK, before you do, I actually did this test on my cooking pans where I boiled water, put baking soda in and then tasted them. And when I tasted it, it tasted salt and metal from my dishes, from my baking pants. And I was irate because one of my hands was like a green pan and I was supposed to be nontoxic and all I could taste was metal and I couldn't get metal out of my mouth.

 

Tamara Rubin

 I guess I've seen that, but I don't know that--

 

Gina Worful

I've done that before.You can do it with any of your pans. And it should just taste like water--

 

Juanique Roney

And salt. Yes.

 

Gina Worful

Finally got me to no matter what change my pans and invest in good hands. Because if you do water and baking soda, it should taste just like water and baking soda..

 

Juanique Roney

And it tastes like metal.

 

Tamara Rubin

I hadn't heard that. OK, well I learned something new.

 

Juanique Roney

Try it, try it Tanara. It's so nasty.

 

Tamara Rubin

You may be able to  find it online. It's called pot test. You might be able to find it online.

 

Gina Worful

 Were that would come up differently.

 

Juanique Roney

What's that?

 

Gina Worful

That's true.

 

Juanique Roney

Oh yeah. Tell us about like Lead in dishes and like this issue that like these are things that we're cooking with and eating off of. So what are Leaded dishes and how do we find ones that are not well?

 

Tamara Rubin

So the problem is politics, so the problem is that companies will tell you their dishes are Lead free when they're not. They were not leeching at the time of manufacture within the leech testing standards that they applied at the time of manufacture. If they say that they're Lead free or they'll say they don't know about the Lead content or they'll say we've always complied with all federal standards. Well, that's the big red flag.

 

Juanique Roney

Yes, because federal standards are terrible. There's so bad. Sorry, keep going.

 

Tamara Rubin

Well, and the main thing is like the vintage dishes when they say they've always complied with all federal standards. There wasn't a federal standard for Lead and dishes at the time of some of the manufacture of some of these items. And the main thing that is outrageous as well in that realm is that, for example, the Pyrex bowls, it just madames me. So I don't know if you know, but I've been written up in Snopes four times.

 

Juanique Roney

I didn't know that.

 

Tamara Rubin

Two of the times they used me to show that something was true and two of the times they wrote disparaging articles, a kind of one of them says, Oh, everything that I do with the XRF is legitimate and another one says that my tests on Pyrex bowls are not necessarily true, but they don't have actual science showing that they have somebody doing a wrong test---

 

Juanique Roney

With the wrong machine, that's like five thousand dollars instead of fifty thousand dollars.

 

Tamara Rubin

It's not exactly, but anyway, something about the Pyrex bowls is that they pretty much all this is a vintage ones that all are covered with Lead paint and exterior. It's the exterior paint. People like believe even if it is Lead, it's only on the outside. And and getting back to the regulatory standards, there's almost I don't believe there's any regulatory standard that requires leach testing to be done on the outside of a vessel. So you can paint the outside of your mug, the outside of your pots and pans, the outside of any of your Pyrex mixing bowls with Lead or cadmium paint or glaive. And it'll pass a leach test because they're not doing leach testing on the outside. However, that outside coating, if you notice, especially with the Pyrex, you're stacking them. And so when you stack them and you hold it up light afterward, you see that the the coating is coming off and micro particulates that you can actually see. And that means when you stack them, you wash your dishes, you stack them on top of each other and the exterior coating goes onto the inside of the one below it. And that's it's probably not a significant source, but it's not an insignificant. It's not a negligible source. It's a source of potential Lead exposure. People should know that their dishes have Lead. So that's the thing that bugs me the most, is that this the outside of the bowl, the outside of the mud, again, with mud, it's almost it's modern mud. It still be quite toxic, even if they pass leach testing standards. Now, that's a separate consideration from the fact that dishes often have high levels of Lead in the glaive. In two thousand nineteen, I bought several Christmas dishes at a Fred Meyers and at Soldatov and places like that, and those were ten thousand twelve thousand parts per million Lead in the glaze. They were leach tested. They were going to poison someone that year, but if they were used daily, the cute little snowman dish will use daily or was used for decades. It might eventually start leaching. And that's oh, there's so many layers here. But the other piece of that is that they can sell this dish with a cute snowman on it as an adult dish and it's legal. But if it was labeled that it's a dish for children, it would be illegal.

 

Juanique Roney

Insane.

 

Tamara Rubin

But it has a snowman on it.

 

Gina Worful

And I think a lot of the confusion too, is that a lot of people associate this exposure with low quality or cheap things. I see even very expensive cookware that has a very expensive brand name to it and it has the same stuff.

 

Juanique Roney

That's what I've been learning.

 

Tamara Rubin

That's true and actually, it's the other way around. Mostly the more expensive stuff is going to be high Lead. There's a myth that if it's white, it's going to be Lead free. That's not true. But if it's really highly decorated, it is more likely to have Lead  and cadmium causes cancer. And you asked a question earlier about what are they replacing this? Well, they're often replacing the Lead with cadium because it gives you bright colors and pot. So the dishes a quick answer is that vintage dishes and when I say vintage, I mean 20 years or older are much more likely to have Lead. And that includes your Mikasa, your Crate and Barrel, your Pottery Barn, all of those ones you think are fine. If you are married ten years or more and you've got dishes for your wedding, no matter what brand they are, those are probably Leaded. If you were married in the last five years, your dishes that you got for your wedding are probably not Leaded. Dollar Store has Lead free dishes.

 

Juanique Roney

Amazing.

 

Gina Worful

Wow. Interesting.

 

Tamara Rubin

Well, not all of their dishes, but they have some Lead-free dishes. Wal-Mart has Lead free dishes, some,  Argott has Lead free dishes. I recommend sticking with Black Glass or the Carol White class with no decorative elements. IKEA has those for ninety nine cents each. I mean, it doesn't have to be expensive to get the Lead out of your kitchen. And one thing you said earlier is that people are wondering, well, how can I get this instrument myself? I need to be able to test everything in my home because this isn't an inaccessible technology for most people and because you need to be trained and certified using the instrument. That's the reason I created my blog. That's why I have over two thousand seven hundred posts that I try and add to it every day where I have more information about new dishes. You can look up your dishes. There's a little video showing you how to use the blog, which people are like, I don't want to watch a video, but it's really a database. When you have a comprehensive database, you have to take a little time to figure out how to use it.

 

Gina Worful

It's very impressive. You've really put together a very robust resource for people that it is really impressive.

 

Juanique Roney

It is.

 

Gina Worful

How do you go about then finding those products? Because you said you don't currently have the technology with you. How do you  goabout finding?

 

Tamara Rubin

Oh, right now, I have like thousands of things to write about that I haven't written about yet.

 

Juanique Roney

You've tested, though. That's amazing. So go ahead.

 

Tamara Rubin

Well, I'm going to say that I broke my leg and I'm sitting here going, I rarely get anything done.

 

Juanique Roney

I'm so sorry. So that that kind of leads me to one of, oh my gosh, I wish this is like a two hour podcast because we need to do a part two. And Gina, I know we're bringing on Kelly Clark to talk about like clean pots and pans and the chemicals in pots and pans in other times. What you lead with Tamara is amazing, but I want to give people hope. Can we end on like because we all know now this is a very, very big problem and we are exposed to it all the time. Go watch the documentary. But what are the simplest things parents can do to protect their children from Lead exposure? And how do we navigate our world now where we can be educated, not overwhelmed, and take empowering steps to protect us?

 

Tamara Rubin

So  I'll try to do a two part answer, one about my blog. I think one of my best posts that I wrote recently was my post about pots and pans. And so if you look at pots and pans, you'll see this post with a picture that's like a collage of a bunch of different pots and pans. The reason I like that post and it's emblematic of my work, is that I tell you in my post, I don't care what brand you buy. I'm not trying to sell you a specific product. I'm different from a lot of bloggers in that way. A lot of bloggers out there like they have affiliate relationships with all these different products. I have very few affiliate relationships and I don't push those products. And instead, in my blog posts, I tell you this is what you need to know to buy safe pots and pans. These are guidelines. Now go forth and buy any pot and pan one that matches these guidelines. And so I have a lot of posts like that, same kind of posts like that for choosing safe mugs and choosing safe casserole dishes. So it's not about buying what I'm recommending, it's about teaching the reader what is simple and how to buy Lead free. And once you dive into some of those posts, it's pretty obvious and you can make those choices from an informed place for yourself. And in general, the nutshell of that is buy clear glass undecorated, don't use stainless. I mean, sorry, don't use cast iron with enamel coatings or don't use stainless with the minimal coatings. Don't use any enamel coatings, paint stainless steel, plain cast iron, plain glass and mix things up and then ceramics. Try and avoid ceramics unless you know the powder and know whether or not they actually don't use Lead in their places. That's the best way to go. There's a couple examples on the blog and it's actually not complicated and not expensive to have a Lead free Hulman Lead free kitchen. It's just about simplifying and go back to your grandmother or your great grandmother and think what they used to have. It depends on how old you are.

 

Gina Worful

Can I just ask you? Because I get this question all the time and I don't actually know the data, but I get so many questions on what do you think about, like, the green pans that are coded but there, you know...? I know nobody can see my finger quote.

 

Tamara Rubin

 I tested the frying pans and they tested positive for metals. I tested the always pan. It tested positive for toxic metals. And like I was saying, you know what they replace things with. They might not have Lead, but then they'll have antimony  and so really avoid any aluminum based pots and pans. So that's like the specific in terms of the shopping guidelines. And I've got a lot of that on the blog. In general, you don't need to worry that everything has Lead. Everything doesn't have Lead, but if you purchase newer things for your family in general, you'll be more safe than if you use vintage. Vintage things should be cherished as object art and not as cookware. If you think you might use something every day or you're feeding your family and or that someone might accidentally use it like a big one, is the strawberry shortcake decorated Lasse's from like McDonald's or anything from. Everyone has the strawberry shortcake glasses they got.

 

Juanique Roney

I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know what that is, but I'm sure listeners are picking up what you're putting out. Keep going.

 

Tamara Rubin

They are like the collector's glasses that have animals on them and care bears and all the different characters. Don't use those for your children.

 

Juanique Roney

Yeah.

 

Tamara Rubin

Smash them. If you really think somebody might use it later and it's toxic, get rid of it because you don't want to have that as a temptation. Because why? Why would you add Lead to your life when you don't have to? And I got to tell you, this is coming from me, a mom, whose children have permanent brain damage from being Lead. Please, Mom, this is not me saying, oh, this is bad in the theoretic. My kid has brain damage. He has a visual memory in the fourth percentile. He is the smartest kid you've ever met. He's been sugar free for almost two years now. He's a very smart kid. He knows how to take care of himself, but he can't read anywhere near grade level because he has a brain injury. So he has to come up with new ways to learn and new ways to process information. And life is a struggle for him every day. He has severe OCD, he has ADHD and dyslexia and all sorts of learning disabilities. And I want to protect your kids from being exposed. So don't compromise when it comes to Lead.

 

Juanique Roney

Right.

 

Tamara Rubin

You know, if you think something might have Lead, look up on my blog, ask me a question, find out if it has Lead and then don't use it anymore.

 

Gina Worful

Was there a specific source of like a specific, you know, Lead poisoning from him that you guys knew about? Or was it over time and then you tested?

 

Tamara Rubin

 This is in the movie, he was acutely poisoned. Obviously acutely poisoned when a painter was hired as an open flame torch to burn the paint off the exterior of our house. And this was a house in a very fancy part of town where all the Nike executives live. And we had a tiny house in the fancy part of town and so is old house but our doctor's like, oh, you live in Irvington, so there's no problem, you know, your middle income, you're white, there's no problem because the political machine has pumped out misinformation that it's a low income black problem or low income minority problem and it's not. It's an everyone problem. And that's not to say that minorities aren't disproportionately affected because they don't have the financial resources because of other impacts on their lives to to deal with these things. But everyone can be impacted. And that's why we all need to be hyper vigilant and make sure that we're making safer choices for our families.

 

Juanique Roney

I also want to point out that contractors are very minimally fined when they have been caught practicing unsafe contractor practices when it comes to Lead. I think like the fine is like a thousand bucks or something. But you potentially have a child damaged, like brain damaged for life because it's more expensive for contractors to remove paint in a safe way. It takes more resources, more time, more money. And so when two contractors come in with a bid and the one who is removing Lead safe is more expensive and then the person who gets the bid, that's cheaper and they're doing unsafe removal of Lead, most people will go for the cheaper bid because we are uneducated about this topic.

 

Tamara Rubin

I have a question for you. That's great. That's great. I love that you watch my movie.

 

Juanique Roney

Everyone should watch it.

 

Tamara Rubin

So many people say that they're afraid to watch my movie, and I tell them you don't know what it's going to be. It's a crash course. It's an education. How much information at once? And I did it. I created the movie because I can't talk to every parent. But I think that every parent needs this information. And instead of the information coming from me, it's from the mouths of scientists. And none of the facts come out of my mouth and they all come out of the scientists. So I was wondering if you have any words of encouragement, again, for people who are afraid to watch the movie.

 

Juanique Roney

Watch it because you'll feel super empowered. Because here's the thing, when I first initially started talking to you, I wanted to put my head in the sand. I did. And remember how I said, I'm like, I'm going to call you Monday. And there was that pull where I'm like, oh, I don't want to look at this truth. And then I just rip the Band-Aid off. And I watched and it's like there's a fire that got ignited in me. And I feel like just listening to this podcast, you now know more than like probably ninety five percent of Americans just in this one hour. You know, watch the documentary, but there's so much information here already. You're already there, guys. You've already heard the heart of the heart. Now just go and get the details of the heart and heart and learn more about the political side of it too, because politics is a big, big part. That's what we have uncovered today. That's what we could probably spend an hour covering. But we want so just go watch the documentary and follow the trail of money because  you're here now, you're at the end of this episode, you're listening. You're already tainted. Your head is already out of the sand. And you're looking at this demand head on.

 

Gina Worful

You can't go back.

 

Juanique Roney

You can't go back. You can't, even hear what you've heard now. So I don't want to, like, tell people, like, just go watch because I was hesitant. I will be honest because ignorance is bliss. But you know what? Ignorance also leads to dysfunction, disease. This is our children. This is why I love moms. And this is why I love our community, is because women, women protecting their babies are the ones that are always like calling out. They're always, always, always trying to protect their little ones, you know. And we know that we have this power and we have this intuition and and we have this driving force, this protective driving force. And what also makes me really sad, too, is that the higher ups, the politicians, the doctors, not all doctors, there's a lot of great doctors. But  people try to dumb us down, right? This is why I like this platform, because we will be dumbed down no more. Go watch it, you guys, because we are the ones with the power. We are the ones that cry out. We are the ones that start moving mountains. And it takes all of us to do it together because the politicians are not going to do it for us. That's what we've learned every time. And you learn this in the documentary, too. Every time things are changed is because of moms and teachers and community members. It's not because of the higher up guys, because they've been bought.

 

Gina Worful

A standing ovation. I want the audience to get up in.

 

Juanique Roney

It wouldn't be a podcast episode with that like my little massive Tanjore, you know, might drop boom.

 

Tamara Rubin

Yes.

 

Juanique Roney

Like it takes us, you guys, this is why we're here. This is why we're banding together. It takes our power. Well, this is what we're doing. We're taking our power back. So get some more empowerment from Tamara. She's such an incredible source and she's so passionate. She even puts her cell phone number on at the end of this documentary. I said before we start recording, I'm like, Tamara, are you sure you want people reaching out to you? Don't call or text her, she said. So if you want some more information, go to her blog post. You can text her because she's amazing. As you can tell, she's so passionate about this. She didn't want to do this. But because she's like you and because she's like me, her child got injured and she got a fire lit under her butt and now she's moving mountains. This is what we can do together. Hey, let's keep moving mountains. Let's keep pushing for changes in our environment, you guys. And that's it. Thanks for coming to me to my Ted talk.

 

Gina Worful

Have you done a Ted Talk? You need to do it.

 

Juanique Roney

No, I have not. No one has invited me to do a TED talk yet. I don't know why. I'm just kidding.

 

Tamara Rubin

And I'd love to get to know you better. I have a lot of families in Utah who want me to come there, so I'm going to be there.

 

Juanique Roney

You should come and do it. Tell us when you're coming. Like, let's do like a massive talk and Q&A. Like, let's do something like let's get you out in the public. Tamara, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for your resources. The outpour of hours that you have put into this mission to educate people like us, because I had no clue two weeks ago, none. And I wanted to stay ignorant and I'm so glad I didn't. So thank you.

 

Tamara Rubin

Sure.

 

Juanique Roney

And Gina, thank you for cohosting with me. You always bring the best questions. The best, best questions. Holy cow. Again, you guys Leadsafemama.com and then on Instagram she's at Lead Save Mama. Let's get her tons and tons and tons of followers. Let's give her some love and support, because this is something that needs to continue on. Thank you, everyone, for listening until next week. We'll hear you then. Bye.

 

Gina Worful

Bye everybody.

 

Tamara Rubin

Bye,  thank you.

 

 

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