Monday, July 21, 2008

Children's Place - the Devil Is In the Details

After the recent recall of the Children’s Place pajamas due to excessive lead in paint, I wrote to Children’s Place and asked them what kind of paint are they using since there was excessive lead in their pajamas. I assumed that they are using lead-based paint since the recall was because of the excessive lead. Since there's a lot of creative writing in the recall document, there has to be creative reading: expect the worse cover-up and ask direct questions. They replied stating that the case “was an isolated incident”. I was not so happy with their answer (the lack of a direct answer, that is) so I sent them another e-mail asking what kind of paints are they using and I added questions about flame retardants used in pajamas and other of their clothes, whether they are using chemicals for stain-proofed and water-proofed clothes. Another person answered my e-mail and she repeated the previous non-answer: that was “an isolated incident”, yada yada, best regards kind of stuff. I wrote the 3rd email starting with the fact that they did not answer to none of my questions and then I repeated the questions. A 3rd person wrote me back the following:

"Thank you for contacting Customer Service with your questions. All prints and screen prints are tested for lead and meet all lead requirements.

The print stuff varies depending on the types of printing, but all paint meet lead requirements. Stain proof is in RTW and perhaps Derong Tu. The yarns are treated and the chemicals meet all government requirements. We sincerely hope we have answered your question.

If we can be of further assistance please contact us at 1-877 PLACE USA or visit us at"

Again, they dodge the answers. I would like to know what kind of chemicals are they using in treating their products but given the avoided and then the ambiguous answers I have no doubt that they are using harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, bromine, caustic soda, and many other chemicals used for finishing. I know, if it’s not organic it’s not kosher! But having lead in children’s clothes while it is banned in children’ furniture should make anyone angry. So, if you bought cotton pajamas (from Children’s Place) thinking that they are free of flame retardants….well you may put on your children’s skin other chemicals – who knows what! Apparently they can't control their supply chain, they buy sight-unseen stuff from 3rd party manufacturers and test to the minimal regulation requirements. That's what transpires from the e-mails.

I started to write to some more other companies that are manufacturing children clothes and I still wait for answers. Until then, I will not shop at Children’s Place again. I wonder if there is any independent lab that does testing like those for toys and cars; anyone heard about one?

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