Two leading makers of children's bounce houses have agreed to limit and test for lead in their products, according to a legal settlement approved Wednesday.
Ninja Jump, based in Los Angeles, and eInflatables, based in Santa Fe Springs, will produce bounce houses with no more than 100 parts per million lead – a level that federal law is scheduled to adopt in August.
The agreements are the first stemming from a lawsuit against several bounce house makers, filed last summer by the Center for Environmental Health and the state attorney general. Lab tests commissioned by the center found lead levels as high as 29,000 parts per million in the houses' vinyl surfaces.
Lead is toxic. Long-term and high exposure can damage the nervous system, brain, kidneys and reproductive system. Children, who risk hand-to-mouth lead exposure when jumping in the inflatable, castle-like structures, are particularly vulnerable to the heavy metal.
"We applaud these companies for taking strong steps to eliminate lead risks to children from bounce houses," Caroline Cox, research director at the center, said in a statement. "We expect the entire bounce house industry to follow suit, so children and their parents no longer need to worry about lead hazards at birthday parties."
Ninja Jump and eInflatables agreed to mail letters to past buyers, warning them of potential lead problems and offering to test their bounce houses for lead. If tests reveal high levels of lead, the companies will provide replacements or discounts.
The letters will also advise users to keep the houses clean and free of food. Children should wash their hands after playing in or on the houses, and clothes worn when playing should be cleaned after use.
In addition to civil penalties, the companies will pay a combined $12,500 for the Center for Environmental Health to test bounce houses and other inflatable, vinyl structures.
An additional $25,000 will go toward the attorney general's enforcement of Proposition 65, which requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of certain chemicals in products, homes, workplaces and the environment.