Saturday morning I completed a home lead test on a key chain that I had ordered through ArtsNow (previously ArtsCafe, and also the company behind ArtsCow). The test turned black, indicating over 50 ppm (parts per million of lead). Because this was the highest amount that could be tested with this test, I assumed it was a dangerous amount. Turns out, regular dirt has 50 ppm of lead. This test only says that this has more than that...so, it doesn't prove that it's safe, but it doesn't prove that it's dangerous either.
Since then staff from ArtsNow have gotten back to me about this issue. Here is what they wrote:
"Our key chains are made of Zinc, and all Zinc product contained lead. However, our product is up to the required European export safety standard.
I am collecting further data of containing lead, will get back to you later. Thank you."
If you have bought a key chain from me you are still welcomed to take me up on the refund I offered earlier. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding that.
And, I am still, most likely, not going to re-open my shop with ArtsNow. As I mentioned previously, there were other quality control problems that had prompted doubts. It made me wonder if they were missing so many minor quality issues, whether they could be missing major issues, like safety issues, as well. That, and the news of lead tainted toys from China, is what prompted me to get the home test. I had also contacted ArtsNow previously about those doubts. I mentioned my concern for overall safety quality, and specifically asked them about lead in ceramics and t-shirt inks (I don't remember if I mentioned any other items). As I recall, they assured me that there was no lead in ANY of their products. I'm not saying they lied...I could be remembering wrong (boy do I wish I could find that original e-mail!). Or, it could be a language issue. These have come up before, since ArtsNow is located in Hong Kong and English is not most of the staff's first language. It could be that since I mentioned the t-shirts and ceramics they simply meant that none of their t-shirts or ceramics contained lead. But man, it would have saved us all a lot of trouble if they had simply said at that time that such and such products did contain levels of lead that was compliant with the European export safety standard.
Regardless, now that I've gone and taken down most of my products from that shop, I actually feel a sense of relief. There were just too many problems. I think the best step for me is to just focus on my other shops through Zazzle, CafePress, and Printfection, and not look back.
*The home lead test I used is Arbotex Lead Inspector Lead Test Kit.