Walmart Jelly Sandals, Jelly Shoes Contain Lead-Unproven!
Summary of eRumor:
Warnings that Walmart jelly sandals and jelly shoes contain lead spread across social media in June 2017.
Widespread warnings that Walmart jelly shoes and jelly sandals contain lead are based almost entirely on unverifiable second-hand accounts, and there’s no hard evidence to back them up.
It’s not clear where, exactly, warnings that Walmart jelly shoes and jelly sandals contain lead came from, but they picked up speed on social media in June and July 2017.
In one popular Facebook post, a mother wrote that she was perplexed when a routine test showed elevated levels of lead in her daughter because of something her daughter’s skin had come into contact with. The mother wrote that her daughter had been wearing jelly sandals on the day of the screen, and that she’d heard about other kids being exposed to lead from Walmart jelly sandals:
I took Adelynn to her well checkup the other day and her routine lead screen came back positive. They took a capillary sample from her toe and the first test resulted in a 14.3 and on repeat it was 8.6 (a normal result is less 3.3) of course I was shocked and began racking my brain for what could be the cause. After a google search I saw some people talking about their kids having a positive lead screen from wearing Walmart jellies. Adelynn was wearing these Walmart jellies the day of her screen. I bought a lead test from Lowes and sure enough the jellies tested positive for lead. We had a venous sample drawn to see if she was absorbing it systemically but the results aren’t back yet.
The mother later posted a follow-up in which she said her daughter’s lead levels had returned to normal, and that she had “no idea’ if the culprit was Walmart jelly sandals, but parents should “be aware of things they put on their kids that aren’t made in the U.S.”
Most warnings about lead in Walmart jelly sandals and jelly shoes follow the same basic format. And, despite convincing first- or second-hand accounts, we couldn’t find any of them that provide any concrete evidence that Walmart jelly sandals contain led.
In fact, the YouTube channel Creative Green Living conducted an in-store lead test of Walmart jelly sandals and found that there was no lead present. The channel, which is operated by a mom named Carissa who advocates for an organic lifestyle, tested multiple pairs of jelly sandals with an XRF test that immediately displays results:
After concluding that no lead was present in Walmart jelly shoes, Carissa speculated others who claim that jelly shoes tested positive for lead might not have used the XRF test properly. “We’re thinking the person who tested their shoes and found lead either didn’t understand how to use the test, or didn’t wipe the lens off,” she said.
But one test for lead in Walmart jelly shoes doesn’t prove that no jelly shoes contain lead — only the handful of shoes that were tested in that particular store. That’s why we’re still calling this one “unproven.”
It should be noted that lead contamination has been found in children’s shoes in the past. In 2012, $23,000 worth of children’s shoes from China were seized at a port in Seattle because they had elevated lead levels, the Huffington Post reported at the time:
Exposure from shoes and other consumer products is not as worrisome as lead paint, which contains far higher levels of the toxic heavy metal. Still, Lanphear noted that all exposures add up. “You might get a little from shoes, from dust that flakes off the walls, from food,” he said. “By themselves, shoes may not be of consequence. But that’s not the way the world works. We are exposed to lead in so many products.”
The risks may be particularly critical for a young child. “These are not just little adults,” said Steven Gilbert, director of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders and affiliate professor at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. “They breathe more and eat more for their body size. A small dose could be a big exposure.”
Gilbert said that he has even seen shoes in his grandchildren’s mouths. “There is no good level of lead exposure,” he added.
In the end, experts agree that it’s good for parents to be vigilant about lead in the things that they buy for their children, but we can’t prove or disprove specific rumors from July 2017 about Walmart jelly sandals containing lead.