From November 1, 2008, 21 casinos in California will switch to using lead free chips. The new lead free chips will contain less than 0.005% lead. This decision was made after discussions between the casinos, Center for Environmental Health of California (CEHCA) and Gaming Partners International (GPI). CEHCA is a nonprofit group monitoring lead content in consumer products.
GPI is the manufacturer of the chips. Till the new chips come into play each of the casinos will put up a notice informing its patrons that the chips in use contain lead and also informing them of the possible hazards.
CEHCA got involved in this issue after an expose by an Arizona TV station that claimed that the chips manufactured by GPI had high lead content. CEHCA alleged that the GPI chips were manufactured in Mexico where standards were lax. In addition to the lead within the chip’s core, lead was also a component in the paints used to color the chips’ exteriors.