California Concerned About What Lurks Within Bouncy Castles

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True, Health & Safety: Big Kids

Bouncy Castles may have large amounts of lead in them

Is the party over for bouncy castles? Credit: Getty Images

Welcome to the bouncy castle ... of doom.

OK, so doom might be a bit of an overstatement. However, the state of California insists lead levels in inflatable bouncy castles for children pose a significant threat. They are filing a lawsuit against a number of bouncy moguls.

The lawsuit, according to The New York Times, claims some bouncy structures have lead content dozens of times past the federal limit.

"I was surprised," California Attorney General Jerry Brown tells The Times. "But as we test more and more of these products, we find dangers."

Some defendants suspect a political motive behind lawsuit. Brown, once known as "Governor Moonbeam" for his starry-eyed musings about space exploration, is trying to get his old job back in November.

Robert Field, the senior vice president of Cutting Edge Creations Inc. and a defendant in the suit, tells The Times the investigation is a "witch hunt" that could seriously hurt the bouncy industry.

"California already has many financial problems," Field adds. "Do they really wish to potentially place thousands of small-business owners that operate children's party centers out of business?"

However, The Times reports the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, an advocacy group, tested dozens of bouncy houses. Researchers concentrated on the vinyl that gives them their bounce.

Lead levels in the vinyl reportedly varied from 5,000 parts per million to 29,000, far above the federal limit of 90 to 300 parts per million.

Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the center, tells The Times kids aren't going to die from jumping around bouncy castles. However, he adds, they should wipe their hands and faces afterward.

Dr. Megan Schwarzman, a family physician and an associate director at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, tells Times she hasn't seen the test results, but that there was no safe level of lead exposure for children.

"Everyone is exposed from so many different sources," she adds.

Brown tells The Times he wants manufacturers to stop using vinyl containing lead and for rental companies and party places to post warnings about lead in bouncy houses.

"I certainly don't want to be a kill joy here," he adds. "I just think parents should be cognizant."

Related: Opinion: Why I Hate Bouncy Castles

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.