The newest irresponsible activity at the facility of an international cooperation that environmental groups protest may not be somewhere you expect. The Orlando Sentinel reports that a coalition of California-based environmental groups have called out Disney for exposing visitors to unsafe levels of lead at their California theme-parks, and suspect similar risk at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The Sentinel reports that the groups found high levels of lead in items such as the brass knobs atop the stanchions used in ride queues and "the hilt of a sword that children attempt to pull from a stone while being photographed by Disneyland employees."
The Eureka Times-Standard reports that Eureka-based Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation filed suit in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday requesting an immediate injunction to force Disney to either fix the hazards or warn visitors to its California theme parks about the potential for lead exposure, which the group claims is as much as 700 times higher than state safety standards governing lead exposure. KTLA of the lawsuit Disneyland now faces:
The lawsuit accuses Disney of violating California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The Times-Standard reports that Disneyland Resort Director of Media Relations Suzi Brown stated that the claims are baseless.
”The claims this plaintiff has made have been baseless,” she said in a written statement. “The Disneyland Resort fully complies with Proposition 65 and has always been committed to providing a safe environment for all its guests.”
The Times-Standard reports that an investigator for the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation visited Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure five times beginning in June 2010 and ending earlier this month:
"According to the report 'Dangers at Disneyland: Lead Hazards at the Happiest Place on Earth,' the amount of lead the investigator recorded from Disneyland objects ranged from 1.3 micrograms on the brass handle of the Sword in the Stone attraction to 350 micrograms on a Pinocchio stained glass window in the dining area at the Village Haus restaurant."
The environmental coalition did not conduct research at Disney World in Florida, But a representative told the Orlando Sentinel that he expects it would find similar results:
"'It looks to be identical materials' used at Disney World, said Charles Margulis, a spokesman for Center for Environmental Health. 'We expect the same problem.'"
Disneyland could be forced to post warnings that lead levels in fixtures and other items exceed certain levels if in violation of California. The Sentinel reports that a spokeswoman for the Florida state Department of Health said the agency does not administer nor is it aware of similar laws in Florida.