It’s pretty safe to say that we’ve all been to a party or gathering that featured a totally awesome bounce castle, competitive inflatable or other such custom inflatable. I’m sure everyone at the party had a great time hanging out and bouncing around with no other cares in the world. Well, unfortunately, that relaxing feeling is a little bit uneasy this week.
A report from the Epoch Times out of California is saying that California’s attorney general Jerry Brown has launched a massive lawsuit against manufacturers of bounce houses. The lawsuit, which was announced last Wednesday, names several manufacturers who rent out bounce houses and/or inflatable toys that exceed the amount of lead allowed by federal and state law.
“Brown’s office received notices from the Center for the Environmental Health, who said that the vinyl contained 5,000 parts per million (ppm) lead to 29,000 ppm lead. Children’s products can have a maximum of 90 ppm for lead in painted surfaces and 300 ppm everywhere else, according to federal guidelines.
Brown said the suit is designed to keep companies from selling the contaminated toys. Meanwhile, he said party rental companies need to place warnings that bounce houses may have elevated levels of lead.”
The lead on the vinyl can be transferred to the child by hand to mouth, the report says. Although unlikely to cause lead poisoning, the levels in the vinyl could cause long term health problems.
Inflatable 2000, a leader in rental inflatables in California, released a statement saying “OUR INFLATABLE RIDES AND GAMES ARE IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT PROP. 65 AND CPSIA WITH RESPECT TO THE MAXIMUM VALUE ALLOWED FOR LEAD (PPM) IN THE VINYL THAT OUR INFLATABLE PRODUCTS ARE MANUFACTURED WITH.”
Inflatables are popping up all over the place nowadays and it seems that they aren’t being used just as advertisement anymore (even though they are incredibly effective). In previous posts, I’ve written about the advent of inflatable buildings and tools, like pubs and computer mice, but today I’ve found an inflatable structure that is incredibly important to the wellbeing of many people. Inflatable hospitals!
Although the concept of mobile hospitals is nothing new, only the most recent technology has been used to prepare inflatable hospitals for the rigors of constant usage in poor areas. According to this article, inflatable hospitals were actually used as far back as the 1940s, but obviously weren’t as effective as the setups that organizations now use.
Currently, in disaster-stricken Haiti, the non-profit Doctors Without Borders has inflatable hospitals set up with complex structuring:
“The inflatable, plug-and-play hospital that MSF set up in Haiti consisted of 9 tents – each more than 1,000 square feet, according to Hocine Bouhabib, a logistics director at MSF. The tents have plastic-tile flooring, and are made from the same fabric used for inflatable lifeboats. Interior and exterior walls are constructed of nylon and space is left between them so air can be pumped in for an insulating effect.”
This photo gallery shows the effort and massive undertaking necessary for setting up an inflatable hospital. The process is certainly time-consuming, but definitely rewarding in the long run, particularly if people without medical care can receive help when needed. Doctors Without Borders has had a lot of success with inflatable hospitals around the world, but there are drawbacks.
It is possible for these structures to be punctured with debris (or shrapnel in war zones), but the infrastructure offered by inflatable hospitals shouldn’t be overlooked. They are self-contained and feature an entire electrical network with plugs for all of the necessary medical equipment. In the short run, inflatable hospitals are a great replacement for areas that do not have permanent medical establishments.
As everyone has probably heard by now, last week, a JetBlue flight attendant used an inflatable slide to exit an airplane after a scuffle with a passenger. He exited the plane by grabbing two beers, quitting over the intercom and making his grand exodus out of the plane by way of inflatable slide. Since I’m sure that you’re sick of hearing about this ‘folk hero,’ I figured that we need a roundup of all the other inflatable-themed news happening around the world.
-The world’s largest inflatable slide was blown up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for an event. The dual lane slide takes up the span of two football fields and according to this article, more than 30,000 people are expected to show up for a ride. The 500 foot long slide is taking up an entire street in Grand Rapids.
-In Scotland’s Royal Highland Centre, a festival of sorts was taking place that included an inflatable pub, which are gaining popularity at all kinds of events. This particular pub was actually stolen when it wasn’t in use, lifted by at least a few thieves. This article says that the pub weighed at least 350 kilos (about 800 pounds) and it simply vanished after being a mainstay at Truckfest.
-This isn’t news so much as it is a funny story. In South London’s Croydon, a small fox was found lounging on an inflatable in a family’s backyard pool. This piece says that the fox jumped on the inflatable and lounged out in the pool until John and Ann Barnes finally got him to leave.
Hopefully by the time next week rolls around, everyone will have stopped talking about the JetBlue guy. We need some newer inflatable stories in the news.
So, a few weeks ago we talked about some of the strangest inflatables that the web had to offer. I can just imagine some people inside an inflatable pub or church and how silly that would probably be. The same goes for the inflatable computer mouse that is functional – just another ridiculous inflatable. But what happens when a useful inflatable is used in a silly way?
Well, I guess everyone in the media picks up the story. What am I talking about?
Take a disgruntled JetBlue flight attendant, an angry passenger and an airplane’s inflatable safety slide and what do you get? A JetBlue flight attendant in jail. Right now, the internet is ablaze with the story of Steven Slater, a JetBlue employee who decided to quit his job and leave the plane he was on by inflating the safety slide, sliding down and getting in his car and driving home.
According to the article linked above, Slater got into a heated argument with a passenger who swore at him, then cursed out the man on the intercom, quit his job, grabbed two beers, inflated the slide and jumped down it. It’s definitely a rare type of story, saved for only the slowest of news days.
It is kind of sad that the only time people get to use an airplane’s inflatable slide is when there is a rare emergency, so maybe this guy was onto something. At the same time, now he’s in jail. If you would like to see this man being led into a police van with handcuffs, check out this YouTube video.How dumb do you have to be? I mean, inflatables are a ton of fun, but you probably shouldn’t use them on the job.