Dear Ikea, Thanks for the Poison
[Note, 2017: nearly 7 years after writing this post, it is still the most visited post on my blog…and in recent weeks, Tacoma has ‘discovered’ a slew of lean-tainted water supplies in homes around the area we lived, as well as some schools. So please, do consider testing if you are concerned, and check out the tests I’ve listed at the bottom of the post.]
Ikea…you are loved all around the world for your stylish yet simplistic, space-saving furniture and decor. But perhaps not so much for your social media presence or apparently your spam filtering. You see, I sent an Executive Email Carpet Bomb to your executives a month ago explaining our lead situation and how Ikea figured into being a part of it. Thus far, no response and no bounce-backs….so, I’m posting the main part of the email here. [Backstory of the lead issues here–start from the bottom]
For the purposes of background, our family was recently doing work on our older home when we discovered lead. We then stopped work and contacted various federal, state, and local agencies until we found out how to deal with it properly. We are now in the midst of some in-depth testing as part of a local (but state-funded) lead program that will either abate or encapsulate the lead. We’ve also all been tested, and we’ve all had some exposure, but all except out infant are low enough not to be too much of a concern. But our infant’s level was high enough to be a concern for the State, which is re-writing the City’s contract for this program to be able to release additional funds to help us.
This morning the City had a professional lead-testing evaluation done of the house, both inside and out . The testing used was an XRF (x-ray fluorescence). In the course of that, because of past concerns with glazing on some ceramic products—and as of late from China, samples of our dishes were also tested.
Which brings me to the purpose of this email: the only dishes that tested positive for lead were some we bought from the Seattle Ikea a few years ago. I do not believe it is a named set—they are very plain, non-descript white dishes—dinner plates, pasta bowls, and small saucers/dessert plates—that were in (for lack of better description) à la carte with only “China” stamped on the bottom (we’d gotten 8 of each, though we’re now down to 7 of each I believe). Sample of each of the three dishes all tested at 1 mg/cm2.
I’ve read that Ikea has gone to lengths to ensure that their dishes are lead-free, so I’m unsure if that was just in the last few years or if these dishes slipped through somehow, but the tester and the City’s inspector relayed what we’d already decided, which is to immediately cease from using these dishes and get them out of the house. And obviously at the level they tested at, they were at least part of the lead exposure of our family.
What kind of resolution do we seek? Assuming the Swedish do not possess some sort of magic wand that can just make the lead and our exposure just go away (never hurts to ask, right?), this is a difficult one for me to answer. We obviously wanted to inform Ikea, and we’d hope to have our dishes replaced. Beyond that, I’d really have to leave to you to determine what might be reasonable and discuss. We love Ikea, and frankly don’t believe this warrants the time or cost for any legal action or negative PR that would be associated with it.
I’ve included our contact information below if there are any additional questions or you wish to discuss. Thank you for your time and attention…[obviously not posting the contact info here]
Lead Testing Kit on Amazon (for surfaces)
or a more comprehensive
Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil Sample Test Kit
or an even MORE comprehensive test, including heavy metals
Toxic Element Exposure Home Hair Testing Kit
[Note, 2017: nearly 7 years after writing this post, it is still the most visited post on my blog…and in recent weeks, Tacoma has ‘discovered’ a slew of lean-tainted water supplies in homes around the area we lived, as well as some schools. So please, do consider testing if you are concerned, and check out…