Warning Labels On Drugstore Dishes Cause Concern

An East Texas woman buys decorative plates and mugs to serve holiday snacks, only to find a warning label cautioning that the paint on them could cause birth defects, even cancer.

"Certainly wouldn't want to give this to anyone knowing it had been decorated with lead paint," says Dotti Fitchett, who says she "sure wouldn't serve food on plates," purchased at a Whitehouse CVS Pharmacy.

She reads the label on the bottom: "Warning: These materials used in colored decorations on this product contain lead."

For what Dotti considered dishware, this was a scary warning.

"Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm," the label continues.

The warning labels are required a by California law that forces businesses to reveal even the slightest chance of the presence of a dangerous material. There is no law like that in Texas, so many products may not have a warning label.

"I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't considered giving it as a gift and I was taking off the price tags," Dottie says.

You can get a lead-based paint test kit. We got ours for about $5.50 at the Home Depot and it has four tests in it. They can be used on any object you think might contain lead. The tip of the test swab will turn pink if lead is present.

That didn't happen on the CVS items.

Brenda Elrod of the Northeast Texas Public Health District says be careful if the items aren't sold as dishware, rather as decorations and if they're not made in the USA.

"Particularily those products that are imported may have lead paint in them," Elrod says.

Dottie says she'll be more aware and knows what she's doing next.

"I'm going to take them back as soon as I can," she said.

CVS Pharmacy says if any customer bought items they're concerned about, they'll refund the purchase price.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting.