Oct
03
2007

Get the lead out: dangerous toys

Lately it seems like no newscast is complete without a story about a recall of toys that could be lead-poisoning risks to kids. We get the details of what toys are impacted, but we rarely get the details on how they’re dangerous. Do you know the threats lead-tainted toys pose to kids’ health?

Tasty, but possibly dangerous: The US government has banned or limited lead in consumer products—like children’s jewelry or paint on toys—but toys made in other countries may not meet US safety standards. (Photo courtesy Tim Brown, via Flickr)
Tasty, but possibly dangerous: The US government has banned or limited lead in consumer products—like children’s jewelry or paint on toys—but toys made in other countries may not meet US safety standards. (Photo courtesy Tim Brown, via Flickr)

Is lead really a big problem?
The CDC estimates that 890,000 US children between the ages of one and five have high levels of lead in their blood. Small children put toys, fingers, and other objects in their mouths—and expose themselves to lead paint and dust if there’s any present. Lead is invisible and has no smell. And most children with elevated blood lead levels have no symptoms. The only way to tell if a child has been exposed is to have his or her blood tested. Small amounts of lead can cause brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth, or hearing problems. Larger amounts can cause kidney damage, coma, or even death.

Caregivers should be especially careful of toys made in other countries and imported into the US, and antique toys and collectibles passed down through generations.

A bigger worry: Despite all the hype over lead-contaminated toys, lead dust is a bigger risk for kids. Before 1978, lead-based paint was used in many homes. When the paint is disturbed—through daily wear-and-tear or remodeling projects—lead dust gets created. And kids eat or breathe in the dust. (Photo courtesy Geekly, via Flickr)
A bigger worry: Despite all the hype over lead-contaminated toys, lead dust is a bigger risk for kids. Before 1978, lead-based paint was used in many homes. When the paint is disturbed—through daily wear-and-tear or remodeling projects—lead dust gets created. And kids eat or breathe in the dust. (Photo courtesy Geekly, via Flickr)

What can you do?

  • The Consumer Protection Safety Council encourages frequent checks for toy recalls. Parents should immediately dispose of recalled toys. (Photos and descriptions of recalled toys can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov or call 1-800-638-2772.)
  • Just dispose of suspect toys. Only a certified laboratory can accurately test a toy for lead. Do-it-yourself kits are available, but they don’t indicate how much lead is present and their reliability at detecting low levels of lead hasn’t been determined. Don't donate recalled toys or put them out at the curb; destroy them instead.
  • Wash your child’s hands frequently to help reduce exposure.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

These recalls are getting out of hand. I'm afraid that this is only the beginning and we're going to see alot more as we get into the Christmas time. I now go to www.leadtoyrecalls.com every day to make sure I have the latest news.

posted on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 12:07am
MARVIN TORRES's picture
MARVIN TORRES says:

I NEVER KNEW THAT TOYS HAD LEAD I TOUGHT THAT IT WAS NON TOXIC

posted on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 9:53am
Carrie's picture
Carrie says:

Please stop sending us products from China. As intelligent as we think we are here in the United States of America, we haven't figured out that they are trying to destroy all of us here in the states. We put you in office to take care of the whole nation, but you allow the foreign nations to monopoltize our whole being. Please for everyone's sake in this United States of America, quite allowing foreign countries from sending us products that will destroy our nation. Why is it that you can't see that this is happenig? But everyone else in the nation knows this. Don't you read the papers?

Please call me and let me know what you are going to do about this, I am really concerned and I know everyone else in America wants to know also.

Carolyn Hughes
3848 Carberry Drive
Dublin, OH 43016

posted on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 10:17pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Hi Carolyn,

I don't know specifically who you are addressing your concerns to. I think your claim that foreign companies are bent of US destruction is probably a little extremist and untrue. I agree that we need tighter regulation on these products but American practices and companies are to fault as well. This should remind us to be active consumers and keep the companies unwilling to produce safe products from making a profit by not supporting their brands. Let's all try to be more like Eduardo Arias.

posted on Fri, 10/05/2007 - 9:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Carrie/Carolyn is way over the top.

Clearly there are many bad products. But the Chinese made goods also hurt the Chinese. No one is trying to get us. Think about the bad milk that is killing the Chinese.

We want cheap goods. We do not want to buy things that are made in the US because we want cheap. Walmart forces vendors to decrease their prices so much they have to go over seas to produce.

Blame ourselves. Change your life and by made in US!

posted on Sun, 10/26/2008 - 4:54pm
Eisy's picture
Eisy says:

I agree with Carol, but I don't think China is necessarily trying to 'get' us, but that they just are not concerned with our safety. It seems that every item in stores has a 'Made in China' sticker on it and until consumers stop the cycle of buying these 'goods' more and more unsafe items will enter the country.
They are cheap, profitable and dangerous.
China is a big problem, not only for the health safety of American children, but for people everywhere.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 11:14pm
Brooke F's picture
Brooke F says:

Thank you for opening this topic! Some countries are pirating and terrorizing cosmetics and toiletries products. Many of it are imported from China. Aside from these imported toys made with lead, which is proven to be a toxic product... another product known to be as dangerous as lead is toothpaste. Apart from toothpaste keeping your teeth and gums healthy and your breath from being able to stun a yak, some of them have stuff they aren't supposed to have. Selective Imports Corp, an imports (who knew?) company in Southern California has been taken to task in court for selling Cooldent, a toothpaste imported from China, that has dangerously high levels of diethylene glycol. Diethylene glycol, or DEG, is a thickening agent that is primarily used in products like windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze, and Cooldent contained twice the amount allowed. Needless to say, the state of California was not amused. I certainly will not be buying that toothpaste any time soon.

posted on Fri, 03/27/2009 - 11:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I can't believe China would do such a thing. After all of this lead poisoning, why are we still buying toys and other stuff from them? I just don't get it!!!!

posted on Wed, 02/03/2010 - 11:16pm

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