Sorry to tarnish your treasured family memories, but it seems that the goofy shot of you grabbing the Sword in the Stone statue at Disneyland is actually a picture of you exposing yourself to high levels of lead. An environmental group has filed a lawsuit against Disney for allegedly failing to remove or post adequate warnings about several items in the park that contain lead.
According to the L.A. Times, the Matell Environmental Justice Foundation filed a lawsuit after high levels of lead were found in items such as the brass door knobs at Minnie's House, drinking fountains, brass rail chains, and stained-glass windows in the salon in Cinderella's Castle. The test involved a volunteer touching the items and wiping his hands on a towelette, which was then analyzed in a lab. Under California law, Disneyland must post warnings if an item's daily lead exposure for an average person tops 0.5 micrograms. The paper reports:
The tests found hand lead exposures at the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan Ride and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride of 1 microgram, 9.75 micrograms and 5.82 micrograms respectively, Mateel said.
A wipe sample taken from a stained-glass Pinocchio window in the dining area of Village Haus restaurant found a lead exposure of 350 micrograms, Mateel said.
A Disneyland rep said the park is already complying with signage requirements, but Mateel says it isn't doing enough. Now the group is seeking an injunction to make the park post clearer health warnings or cover the items. Mateel President William Verick said,
"We are asking the court to force Disney to take steps that should have been taken when we first told them that children at Disneyland are in danger of illegal lead exposures."
We haven't heard of any kids being overcome by a sudden bout of lead poisoning after going on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but Disney's reluctance to replace the items seems strange. Disney certainly has the money to buy a few non-toxic hunks of metal, and it seems like it would be worth it to get environmental groups off their case — not to mention, to ensure that kids really aren't poisoning themselves at the park.