If you have Venetian blinds that are broken or that don’t open or close properly and would like them replaced, just let me know, and I will replace them at no cost to you. All the Venetian blinds in my rentals have aluminum slats. I used to buy Venetian blinds with vinyl slats, which are cheaper and last longer than aluminum slats, but many vinyl blinds have lead in the vinyl, especially vinyl blinds from East Asia, which is where most of them are made. As vinyl slats get old, sunlight and heat break down the vinyl and the lead leaches out and forms a white powdery coating on the slats. Then every time you touch the slats, you get lead on your fingers. When I found out about that, I replaced all the vinyl Venetian blinds in my rental units with aluminum ones. That was many years ago. A lot of people assume that the federal government tests building materials to make sure they don’t contain toxic chemicals or heavy metals, but unfortunately, that isn’t true. 2 years ago, I replaced all the CFL light bulbs in my rentals with LEDs. CFLs contain mercury, LEDs do not. I also replaced all the mercury-bulb wall thermostats with electronic thermostats, which are mercury-free. I tell other landlords that they should think carefully about environmental issues when buying building materials because tenants, especially in this area, care about this more than they may realize.

Is There Lead In Hershey Bars?

This is another Yes and No. The State of California is threatening to sue Hershey for failing to put Prop. 65 warning labels on their chocolate bars telling consumers that Hershey bars contain lead. Well Yes, there is lead in Hershey bars, but Hershey doesn’t put lead in their chocolate. Why would they? The fact is that all cacao beans contain a small amount of lead. As Hersheys explains: “All foods that are grown in nature contain small amounts of elements and minerals, such as cadmium and lead, which occur naturally in all soils because they are found in the Earth’s crust.” You may have seen stories in the press over the past year about this and thought about switching to a different brand of chocolate. That won’t do any good. There is a trace amount of lead in all chocolate. In addition to Hershey, California has also filed or threatened to file Prop. 65 lawsuits against Trader Joes, Green and Black, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See’s, Mars, Theo, and Ghirardelli. There’s no decision yet. (P.S. – There is also a surprisingly large amount of nicotine in eggplant, but that’s a story for another day.)