Press Releases

Major Gaming Company to Eliminate Lead Threat from Poker Chips

Oakland, CA – The Center for Environmental (CEH) announced today it has
reached a legal agreement with Gaming Partners International (GPI) and
twenty-one California casinos and card rooms to eliminate lead threats
from gaming chips. GPI’s chips, which previously contained as much as
47% lead, will as of November 1, 2008 be legally required in California
to contain no more than .005% lead.

“We are pleased to see the gaming industry taking this step to
eliminate lead threats to their patrons and employees,” said Caroline
Cox, Research Director at CEH. “Lead can pose serious health risks to
the players and dealers who handle gaming chips on a regular basis, and
is a special concern for pregnant women.”

According to its website, GPI (previously known as Paulson Gaming
Supplies) is the market leader in manufacturing poker chips, producing
chips for 28 of the 30 largest U.S. casinos. The company produces
Paulson chips, made in Mexico and widely used in U.S. casinos. Lead was
used in poker chips for weight and in some cases, in dyes used for
certain colors.

For pregnant women who regularly visit or work at casinos, lead in
gaming chips can be a significant source of unnecessary lead exposure.
Two recent studies, both published in the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences’s peer-reviewed journal Environmental
Health Perspectives, demonstrated the impacts that lead exposure during
pregnancy can have on a women’s unborn child.

One study, investigating children’s IQ scores in relation to their
mother’s blood lead level, concluded that lead exposure during
pregnancy could have “lasting and possibly permanent effects” on a
child’s IQ. The second study showed that lead exposure during the first
trimester (three month period), when some women are not even aware that
they are pregnant, had the most pronounced effects on a child’s mental

Lead is also listed by the EPA and other agencies as a
cancer-causing chemical. Lead exposure has also been linked to higher
rates of infertility in women, an increased risk of heart attacks,
strokes, and high blood pressure, among other health problems.

CEH’s legal work has previously uncovered lead threats from toys,
vinyl baby bibs, children’s jewelry and many other products. CEH has a
ten-year track record of protecting consumers from hidden health
hazards and protecting communities from health hazards related to toxic
pollution. CEH also works with major industries and leaders in green
business to promote healthier alternatives to toxic products and

The twenty-one California casinos and card rooms named in the settlement reached today are:

California Commerce Club, Inc.
Cameo Club
Capitol Casino
Casino Poker Club
Casino Real
Club One Casino, Inc.
The 500 Club
Golden West Casino
Hustler Casino
Lake Bowl Cardroom
Limelight Card Rooms
Lucky Derby Casino
The Nineteenth Hole General Partnership
Ocean View Card Room
Palace Card Club
Phoenix Casino and Lounge, Inc.
The Players Club
Rogelio’s, Inc.
Turlock Poker Room
Village Club Card Room